Commentary: A fight for power in Sacramento tests boundaries of campaign finance law
It’s probably too soon to call it a landslide. But this election will shape Sacramento for a while.
And it could have seismic consequences for the state’s campaign finance laws — and even a showdown at the ballot box.
It could be a close race, with Democrats, Republicans and independents all jockeying for position. If it’s a close race, a Democratic victory could force politicians to go back to the drawing board to decide where to draw the line on money in politics.
In this election cycle, money continues to flow into the race — and it’s flowing from all sides.
Here’s a rundown of the top money influences and their role in the race.
1. The top two SuperPACs
Super PACs make their money by supporting or opposing candidates. Most spend about $1.5 million – $3 million — on the races they’re supporting.
Two of the candidates with the largest Super PACs are candidates who say they will take on the powerful office of governor.
Super PACs can, technically, raise unlimited amounts of money. They can only spend it on candidates they support. And they are only allowed to spend millions of dollars on a statewide race.
The $1.5 million super PAC that’s supporting former Assembly GOP Leader Chad Mayes has spent $400,000 so far. That includes $200,000 on television ads. Its ads are running statewide.
The other super PAC supporting Democratic Rep. Lois Boxer has spent just $1,000 on ads this cycle — though it has spent $400,000 on commercials statewide.
The super PAC backing former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has spent only $500,000 to this point — less than $20,000 on TV ads. It had not spent any money on ads in the Senate primary.
The super PAC backing former state Sen. Christine Kehoe and Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia is currently spending $500,000, giving it the lead in the race.
Garcia, who is running to replace Rep. Mike Honda, has been a longtime supporter of conservative causes, especially social issues like gay marriage. She has received endorsements from President Bush and