Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, the Democrat who is the frontrunner in the race to become California’s next governor, continues to lead the crowded field of candidates in fundraising, having raised approximately $4.6 million in this most recent filing period.
According to Bay Area public radio station KQED, Newsom now has about $20.5 million cash on hand in his war chest.
Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, a Democrat, recently received a $7 million donation to his campaign from Netflix co-founder and Chief Executive Reed Hastings. L.A. developer and philanthropist Eli Broad has also donated $2 million to his campaign in the past two weeks.
Both men support charter schools. Local observers note that the expensive governor’s race has turned into a proxy war between the Golden State’s teachers’ unions — who support Newsom — and activists who back charter schools.
According to Ed Source, contributions from just four people have provided Villaraigosa with $11.25 million. heading into the last weeks before the June 5 primary.
Meanwhile, Republican San Diego businessman John Cox has poured $4 million of his own money into his campaign, and has already has spent over $1.5 million on ads throughout California
Villaraigosa and Cox are virtually tied in second place with Assemblyman Travis Allen (R-Huntington Beach also fighting to finish in the top two and advance to the general election in November.
Democrat State Treasurer John Chiang, who showed strong fundraising numbers earlier in the race, is trailing in most polls.
The Los Angeles Times reported that Chiang released his first television ad on Thursday, where he touted his record on fiscal issues.
The spot reportedly cost $500,000 to be aired in Los Angeles and San Diego.
Still, “Newsom and his campaign hope one of the Republicans captures second place in the primary,” Joel Fox of Fox & Hounds wrote on Thursday, noting that the Democrats would hope to avoid an expensive intra-party fight.
Republicans, with their eyes on statewide voter turnout and the prospect of saving vulnerable congressional seats, hope that a second-place finish in the primary would motivate their voters to come to the polls again in November.