Lieutenant Gov. Gavin Newsom, the top Democrat in the race to succeed soon-to-be termed out Gov. Jerry Brown in 2018, and incumbent Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) are dominating fundraising in the Golden State and are way ahead of their primary rivals.
Newsom has reportedly acquired a war chest of more than $16 million for his 2018 bid, compared with fellow Democrats former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and State Treasurer Chiang and Villaraigosa, who each have just under $6 million cash on hand, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The Times further noted that Feinstein has nearly $10 million in her campaign war chest, leaving her with for more ammunition than her chief rival, State Senate President Pro-tem Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles), who “has not yet disclosed his fundraising efforts to date.”
The last time Feinstein faced such a competitive race was in 1994 when she ran as a first-term incumbent against Republican Michael Huffington, beating him by nearly two percentage points.
“Gavin has more than double the cash reserves of any of his opponents, and that is largely due to the huge army of grassroots and small-dollar contributors who are funding his campaign,” campaign spokesman Nathan Click told the Los Angeles Times. “No other candidate in this race can compete with the depth or breadth of his support.”
Villaraigosa and Chiang’s campaigns reportedly expressed confidence in their fundraising figures, too, though they lagged significantly behind Newsom’s, who also has nearly $3 million his lieutenant governor’s account.
Newsom’s lead in the polls is strong. But there are still a significant number of California voters who are “undecided” as to whom they will choose during the June primary.
Republicans Assmeblyman Travis Allen (R-Huntington Beach) and Orange County businessman John Cox are also in the running.
Although a strong Latino turnout could benefit De León and Villaraigosa, it might not be enough for them to win.
In December, De León warned Feinstein, “don’t come back to California” unless she and fellow Democrats forced the approval of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) in Congress.
California’s top-two or “jungle” primary system allows for the two highest vote-winners to proceed to the November election, regardless of party.