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$16.8 million in Outside Cash Spent on 2 Local California Races

$16.8 million in Outside Cash Spent on 2 Local California Races

Millions of dollars have been injected into two key races within California in an attempt to tip the scales and determine whether Democrats will regain a two-thirds advantage in both the Senate and the Assembly.

Campaign disclosures revealed this week that Republican and Democrats, along with unions and business groups, spent a mind boggling $11.3 million in donations in just two local races for the state legislature, while independent groups have spent an additional $5.5 million in the races. 

Significantly, the money infused into Senate District 34 and Assembly District 65– the Senate district covers Santa Ana to eastern Long Beach, and the Assembly district contains Fullerton, western Anaheim and several smaller cities–is not coming from within the districts, but from all areas across the state that recognize the impact of a Democratic supermajority.

The Orange County Register reported that a supermajority would marginalize Republicans and allow Democrats to increase taxes, put measures on the ballot and override gubernatorial vetoes without needing any Republican votes.

The Senate race is between Republican Orange County Supervisor Janet Nguyen and Democratic former Assemblyman Jose Solorio. The Assembly contest pits Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva (D-Fullerton) vs. Republican Young Kim, a former aide to GOP Congressman Ed Royce.

Sherry Bewitch Jeffe, a USC political scientist explained that “Because these races have statewide significance, the money is going to come from wherever in the state the money is.”

The 4 candidates campaign financing looks like this according to the Register:

  • Janet Nguyen received $1.8 million from the Burbank California Republican Party and $326,000 from county GOP chapters outside the district. Money from outside the district accounted for 88 percent of her total campaign fundraising of $3.3 million. 
  • Jose Solorio, received $707,000 from his state party in Sacramento and $750,000 more from seven county chapters. Outside money accounted for 96 percent of his $2.6 million campaign total
  • Sharon Quirk-Silva’s campaign received $1.6 million from state Democrats and an additional $467,000 from five county chapters. Outside money accounted for 97 percent of her $3.5 million total. 
  • Young Kim received $735,000 from the California Republican Party and $117,000 from the San Luis Obispo County GOP. Money from outside the district accounted for 90 percent of her total campaign fundraising of $2 million. 

Although over $16 million has been spent on the two races, according to executive director of CSU Los Angeles’ Pat Brown Institute of Public Policy Raphael Sonenshein, voters should feel good that they will have an impact on the future direction of California. “The voters in the districts will have a say in whether Democrats get a two-thirds majority or not,” he said. “Not many voters get to say that.”

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