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Villaraigosa Starting to Raise Serious Cash for 2018 Governor’s Race

Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has increased fundraising for his run in the wide-open race for governor of California in 2018, but notes that it’s been a trying task.

“It’s awful,” Villaraigosa said several days before Christmas during a trip to the Los Angeles Mission, where he served meals to poor and homeless people, according to Politico. “No, that’s not the word. You spend so much time on the phone. You’re not doing this — out with the people.”

While he still lags behind Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom — who Politico notes had approximately $6.6 million sitting in two of his accounts as of mid-2016, and raised over $1.5 million in larger donations through December — Villaraigosa raised about $2 million by the end of 2016 a goal that was reportedly set privately by his campaign.

Newsom was the first to announced he was running, making his intentions public in February of 2015.

Politico also reports that state Treasurer John Chiang collected approximately $2.2 million in the first month and a half of announcing his campaign and that he had an additional $3.2 million remaining from his previous campaign, which he will use for his gubernatorial candidacy. Chiang announced he was running in May of 2016:

Villaraigosa’s traction is significant, considering he only announced in November.

The 2018 race will be an expensive one. During the 2010 race, where Gov. Jerry Brown won against Hewlett Packard CEO Meg Whitman, candidates reportedly spent more than $200 million. In the last race, in 2014, Brown and former U.S. Treasury official Neel Kashkari spent $13.3 million combined (much of which was accounted for by Brown).

Newsom is perhaps the highest-profile person running, although Villaraigosa, who was L.A.’s first Latino mayor, is quickly gaining support. An early Field poll, released in October last year, showed Villaraigosa and Newsom neck-and-neck in terms of voter support to replace soon-to-be termed-out Gov. Jerry Brown.

Eric Garcetti, the current mayor of Los Angeles, is also among several names who are considering a run. Politico notes that Vice President Joe Biden will appear at a reception for Garcetti’s mayoral re-election effort in Beverly Hills on Sunday.

However, the wide-open race could also see more additions. Other potential Democratic candidates include Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León, left-wing billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer, former California State Superintendent for education Delaine Eastin, left-wing actor and activist George Clooney, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, and Secretary of State Alex Padilla.

Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter and Periscope @AdelleNaz

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