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California and the West | CALIFORNIA ELECTIONS

Davis Leads Lungren in Funding; Cash Gushes in Other Races

October 08, 1998|DAN MORAIN and DAVE LESHER | TIMES STAFF WRITERS

SACRAMENTO — Heading into the final four weeks of the campaign, Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Gray Davis had about twice as much cash on hand as Republican rival Dan Lungren, their latest campaign finance statements show.

State Atty. Gen. Lungren had $4.8 million in the bank, compared to Lt. Gov. Davis' $8.2 million, according to the reports, issued this week for the period of July 1 to Sept 30.

The gap, which could be a significant advantage for the Democrat in the final blitz of television advertising, exists despite $1.6 million poured into Lungren's campaign by the national Republican Party during the last two months. In contrast, Davis has received a modest $300,000 from national Democratic Party committees.

Altogether, Davis has raised $21.1 million this year, compared to Lungren's $17.7 million. Dave Puglia, Lungren's spokesman, predicted that Lungren will raise $3 million at major galas this week in Century City and San Francisco.

For the Record
Los Angeles Times Friday October 9, 1998 Home Edition Part A Page 3 Metro Desk 1 inches; 26 words Type of Material: Correction
Fund-raising--In an article in Thursday's Times on California campaign spending, the affiliation of Bob Stern was misidentified. His group is the Center for Governmental Studies.

Meanwhile, California's major electric utilities dumped $29 million into a campaign to defeat Proposition 9, an initiative they believe threatens their future by counteracting legislation approved two years ago to deregulate the industry.

And the utility initiative wasn't the ballot's priciest measure. By Sept. 30, gambling interests had raised a combined $60 million for the war over Proposition 5, which would allow Indians to operate casinos on their reservations as they see fit. Business-related initiative campaigns often draw far more money than races for statewide office, even for governor.

By the time all the television commercials are aired and mailers sent, campaign donors ranging from the insurance and oil industries to unions and trial lawyers to wealthy ideological warriors will have shelled out $300 million on California politics this year.

Winning at Any Cost

Spending on Campaign '98 is sure to shatter all previous records, if it hasn't already. The primary itself was a record, as candidates for statewide offices and legislative seats spent $137 million, Secretary of State Bill Jones reported.

"This is not even close to anything else we've ever had," said Bob Stern of the Center for Responsive Government in Los Angeles. "This a supernova, record-breaking year. It certainly is blasting the California voters."

Los Angeles-based Edison International, long a major campaign donor, contributed $13.6 million to the campaign against Proposition 9, while Pacific Gas & Electric of San Francisco kicked in $13.2 million. Sempra Energy of San Diego spent another $2.6 million.

In contrast, backers of the initiative have raised a mere $177,059 this year and had $28,000 in the bank.

"I feel like I'm marching up the beach on D-Day," said Harvey Rosenfield, a Santa Monica attorney and consumer activist who is a main sponsor of the utility initiative.

The 1988 insurance initiative wars are the costliest to date, at more than $70 million.

So far this year, the biggest money--roughly $60 million--is being spent on Proposition 5, which is backed by many Indian tribes and would permit an expansion of casinos on reservations.

In a reflection of the fight over Indian gambling, Indian, Nevada and California gambling interests are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on legislative races and campaigns for statewide offices.

While specific business interests focused on Propositions 5 and 9, the race for governor is attracting attention nationally.

Republican Lungren received $1.2 million from the GOP's U.S. Senate campaign committee, plus $300,000 from the Republican National Committee, and $100,000 from the Republican Congressional Committee, according to the latest campaign finance reports.

Lungren got significant infusions from a trio of national Republican campaign funds--$1.2 from the GOP's U.S. Senate campaign committee, which is also funding governor's races this year--plus $300,000 from the Republican National Committee and another $100,000 from the Republican National Congressional Committee.

Additionally, Lungren received more than $800,000 from the insurance industry between July 1 and Sept. 30, $100,000 from Rupert Murdoch of News Corp., parent of Fox Broadcasting, and $200,000 from A. Jerrold Perenchio, majority owner of Univision, a Spanish-language television network.

Perenchio also gave Davis $235,000.

Davis' new campaign finance report shows that he received $300,000 from the Democratic Governors' Assn., plus $125,000 from the New York state Democratic Party.

Party officials said the national Democratic funds are being diverted to the state party's voter outreach programs instead of the Davis campaign. "Frankly, we don't need it," said Davis campaign manager Garry South.

Davis continues to rely heavily on organized labor. At least a fourth of the $12 million Davis raised between July and September came from unions.

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