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California titans join McCain's campaign team

The Nation

The Arizona senator, although not officially a presidential candidate, names a finance panel.

March 01, 2007|Dan Morain | Times Staff Writer

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) unveiled a presidential campaign finance committee Wednesday dominated by Californians and New Yorkers, including some of the biggest donors to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and President Bush.

McCain's 13 national finance committee co-chairmen include five Californians: Orange County billionaire Donald Bren; investor George Argyros; Univision Chairman A. Jerrold Perenchio; Cisco Systems Chief Executive John Chambers; and San Francisco venture capitalist J. Gary Shansby.

Altogether, McCain named 70 Californians, 68 of them men, to his finance team. They will be expected to raise $100,000 or more for the campaign.

"I'd be very disappointed if I didn't raise over $2 million," said Shansby, former chairman of Shaklee Corp., who helps run an investment fund.

The California list includes executives in the entertainment, investment, banking, telecommunications, real estate, gambling and alcohol industries, and current and retired politicians.

Other co-chairmen include New York Stock Exchange Chairman John A. Thain; JP Morgan Vice Chairman James B. Lee; New Jersey banker Lawrence E. Bathgate; GOP fundraiser Lewis M. Eisenberg of New York; and former New Jersey Rep. James A. Courter, chairman of the telecommunications firm IDT Corp.

Though McCain hasn't officially announced his candidacy, he said in a taping of the "Late Show With David Letterman" on Wednesday that he was running and would "announce" it in April.

The release of his finance committee is aimed at showing other candidates the depth of his support and convincing donors that he is the front-runner.

Perenchio is one of at least eight Californians on McCain's list identified as a Bush "pioneer," meaning he raised in excess of $100,000 for the president's campaigns.

Perenchio is Schwarzenegger's largest single donor, at $4.8 million. McCain also tapped Schwarzenegger's lead fundraiser, Marty Wilson, as part of his California finance committee.

Argyros, Bush's first ambassador to Spain, has spent more than $960,000 on federal campaigns since 1997, including $200,000 on Bush's 2005 inaugural.

Chambers has given more than $1 million to federal campaigns since 1997, and his company has accounted for $1.6 million during the last four years.

Bren and his wife, Brigitte, have given $267,000 to federal campaigns since 2003. Bren's Irvine Co. has accounted for $250,000 to Schwarzenegger.

Shansby has been a relatively small federal donor in the last decade, giving $35,000, Federal Election Commission records show. But as managing director and chairman of TSG Consumer Partners, a San Francisco-based fund that invests in consumer products, he has the potential to raise significant sums.

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dan.morain@latimes.com

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