Campaign finance records show as of this weekend, Brown had reported more than $1.45 million in contributions. Those dollars were raised in the first month of the governor's efforts, and will no doubt help pay for signature gathering now that his tax increase initiative has hit the streets.
The three largest donations came from some not-so-always aligned groups: the California Association of Hospitals and Health Systems ($500,000), the State Building Trades Council ($250,000), and Occidental Petroleum ($250,000). $100,000 contributions have come from two Indian gaming tribes and Blue Shield of California.
What these early dollars seem to clearly show is that Governor Brown is eager to crate a coalition of support for his tax hike that spans the political spectrum. And that includes those who don't agree with him on every issue.
Take Occidental, a major player in the 2010 campaign in support of Proposition 23. That was the initiative designed to either delay or kill (depending on your viewpoint) the state's landmark climate change law, AB 32. In fact, Oxy's participation in that campaign earned them criticism from then Governor Arnold Schwarznegger, a longtime ally of Occidental and other oil companies.
In fact, it seems noteworthy that Schwarzenegger's definition of the infamous "special interests" in California politics now matches up rather nicely with Jerry Brown's tax initiative donors: organized labor, Indian gaming tribes, and Big Oil. Indian tribes, in particular, have found a more friendly ear in the governor's office with Brown than with Schwarzenegger. And while these are only early donors to the cause, they do offer a glimpse at how the governor sees the campaign that lies ahead.
Update 3:36 p.m. In an email, Brown campaign adviser Steve Glazer says the governor is reaching out to "all individuals, businesses and associations who support our tough cuts and temporary tax solution for the state," groups that believe the proposal puts California on "sound financial footing for economic expansion and job creation."