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Davis, Schwarzenegger Far Ahead in Fund-Raising

Governor has raised nearly $4 million; the actor has gotten $3.1 million, reports show. The top pro-recall committee has $12,000.

August 29, 2003|Dan Morain and Joel Rubin | Times Staff Writers

SACRAMENTO — Gov. Gray Davis and actor Arnold Schwarzenegger emerged Thursday as by far the most prolific fund-raisers in the recall campaign.

The governor has amassed nearly $4 million to fend off the effort to oust him, according to campaign reports filed with the state Thursday.

Schwarzenegger has raised $3.1 million since announcing last month his decision to run for governor in case Davis is recalled.

Schwarzenegger also has spent heavily, with $1.45 million going to purchase television time. He had $1.6 million in the bank. The actor, who pumped up his campaign coffers with $2 million of his own money, also had $822,000 in campaign debt.

The main campaign committee set up to mount the first-ever effort to recall a California governor reported a paltry $12,000 in the bank, the campaign reports show.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Saturday August 30, 2003 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 2 inches; 85 words Type of Material: Correction
Campaign spending -- In an article in Section A on Friday about fund-raising and spending in the recall campaign, part of a quote attributed to Democratic strategist Richie Ross was actually a paraphrase. What Ross said regarding a statement issued by the state Fair Political Practices Commission on rules governing Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante's campaign funds was: "Our lawyers have talked to them, and they're very sanguine." He added that the commission's published statement appeared to contradict the conversations the campaign had with the commission.

Davis' aides seized on the reports as evidence that the recall effort is faltering. The report comes less than a week after the Los Angeles Times Poll showed voters closely divided on the recall issue, supporting it 50% to 45%.

With six weeks left before the Oct. 7 election, some candidates seeking to replace Davis, including fellow Democrat Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante and state Sen. Tom McClintock (R-Thousand Oaks), reported having relatively modest sums in their campaign accounts.

McClintock, who in recent polls has emerged as Schwarzenegger's main Republican rival, reported having $194,000 in his gubernatorial campaign account, and received $538,000 in donations this year. He had another $240,000 in his old state Senate account.

Former Major League Baseball Commissioner Peter V. Ueberroth, trailing Bustamante, Schwarzenegger and McClintock in recent polls, reported having raised $2.3 million since announcing his decision to run for governor; $1 million was his own contribution. He had $1.1 million in his campaign account, and $200,000 in debt.

The Thursday reports reflect campaign fund-raising and spending through last Saturday, and show the sums that candidates have in their accounts -- money available to buy television ad time, for example. A statewide television ad costs about $2.2 million per week.

The filing by Rescue California, the committee that financed the petition drive to put the recall measure on the ballot, was striking. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista),a wealthy car-alarm magnate, is the largest donor by far to Rescue California, having given it $1.76 million in loans out of the $2.79 million donated to the committee.

When Issa gave the $1.76 million, he was planning to run as a replacement candidate. He since has dropped out.

"It is clear that, without their sugar daddy, the pro-recall forces cannot sustain their efforts,'' Davis spokesman Roger Salazar said, adding that the $12,000 in Rescue California's bank account "tells you the general public is not interested in supporting the recall."

"It is a perfect example of the lagging support of this ridiculous effort,'' Salazar said.

David Gilliard, the main consultant for the Rescue California committee, said that none of the candidates vying to replace the Democratic incumbent would succeed unless a majority of voters cast ballots in favor of turning Davis out of office on Oct. 7. A second question on the ballot asks who should replace Davis if the governor is recalled.

"If we fail,'' Gilliard said of the recall effort, "it doesn't matter if Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tom McClintock, Peter Ueberroth or some other candidate comes in first on the second question.''

One month ago, when Issa still intended to run for governor, Gilliard estimated that the recall committee's budget would be $15 million.

"I consider that a minimum," Gilliard said last month. "I want to get that to $21 million."

Candidates and committees are under intense pressure to raise huge sums in a condensed period. Davis, for one, has set a goal of as much as $15 million, as has Bustamante, the one major Democrat running to replace the incumbent.

Davis has nearly $4 million in the bank, and has raised about $6 million this year for his gubernatorial campaign committee and for two committees established to battle the recall effort.

About 34% of his money has come from organized labor this year. During his first term, about 20% came from unions, the main source of money for Democrats.

The reports show that Davis spent $2.225 million to retain firms that specialize in circulating petitions. That was part of a failed effort to block the ability of the recall backers to hire signature gatherers.

Though declining to comment specifically about his fund-raising, Davis said at a news conference Thursday: "I assure you we will have adequate resources to wage a campaign during this recall. Our efforts will not suffer."

Bustamante reported having raised $836,000 this year, and having $776,000 in the bank. But $440,000 was in an old committee set up for his race in 2002 for lieutenant governor. At the time, there were no limits on the amounts donors could give to statewide candidates.

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