Following The Money...
Election Day is now 5 days away, and the money is flowing to political races both large and small.
At this point in the game, though, campaign finance records only tell part of the story. While it's true that candidates and campaigns are required to report most donations within 24 hours, they are not required to reveal how much money is actually left in the bank.
But even so, the numbers are staggering. The most expensive campaigns continue to be those for and against Proposition 68 and Proposition 70, measures that both would send a share of Indian gaming profits to the state.
Supporters of Prop 68 have raised almost $28 million dollars (although the formal campaign in support of the measure has been abandoned). Opponents of Prop 68 have raised almost $35 million dollars.
Meantime, supporters of Prop 70 have raised more than $28 million dollars.
Other campaigns that have raised large amounts of money this year: supporters of Proposition 64's lawsuit reform ($13.8 million); supporters of Proposition 71's efforts for more stem cell research ($27.2 million); and supporters and opponents of Proposition 72, the referendum on a new state law requring more businesses to provide health care coverage (both sides combined raising more than $27 million).
Legislative races don't attract as much money, but some races this year stand out.
The most expensive is SD 5, the State Senate race between Republican Gary Podesto and Democratic incumbent Mike Machado. To date, the campaigns combined have raised $6.4 million dollars (I reported on this race, and the statewide impact of Governor Schwarzenegger on legislative races in general, this morning on The California Report).
And the single most expensive legislative campaign? The winner so far is Republican Steve Poizner, running in the 21st Assembly District against Democrat Ira Ruskin (this is an open seat in the Bay Area). Poizner, a Silicon Valley multi-millionaire, has taken in more than $6.1 million dollars... though truth be told, $4.8 million of that amount is his own money.
Just for some perspective: the job Poizner is seeking pays $99,000 a year.