Fund-Raising Is Frenzied in Compressed Campaign
At the end of a long and lucrative day, Arnold
Schwarzenegger stood on a venture capitalist's rooftop
Wednesday night in San Francisco, surrounded by high-end
donors who smoked cigars and took in majestic views of the
bay and bridges.
On Friday, Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante traveled to Chicago,
where he raised money from Democrats, spoke to a Latino
political group and visited the stock exchange. An aide
said the campaign expected to take in about $150,000
For both candidates, who are seeking to replace Gov. Gray
Davis if voters remove him from office in the Oct. 7
special election, the stops were two among many in a
behind-the-scenes race for money made frantic by the
tightly compressed recall campaign.
Fund-raising has become a major issue for California
voters, many of whom say Davis' relentless pursuit of
donations over the years helped fuel their anger toward
him. A Los Angeles Times Poll found this week that nearly
eight in 10 likely voters who support the recall say the
governor spends too much time raising money.
This week, Schwarzenegger and Bustamante have mingled with
donors as often as three times a day â€" at
gatherings almost always held behind closed doors and left
off the candidates' public schedules.
Since last Saturday, the two have reported donations
exceeding $2.7 million, pushing their combined take to
nearly $16 million. With little time, and the need to make
media buys for commercials by the end of this month,
Schwarzenegger and Bustamante have gone directly to the
likeliest donors, skipping the wooing that typically begins
as much as two years before an election.
"Raising money requires a relationship. Before someone
parts with their $21,200, or even their $1,000, they want
to know the person it's going to," said Darry Sragow, a
longtime Democratic consultant. "But in this recall, there
is no time for prolonged courtship. You're out there asking
someone to sleep with you on the first date."
The vast majority of funds taken in are used to buy
television ads. According to one strategist who tracks
media purchases in the state, Davis and those seeking to
replace him already have spent at least $14 million.
Bustamante has paid $7 million to $8 million for ads that
will begin Monday, a combination of campaign commercials
and anti-Proposition 54 spots that will feature the
lieutenant governor, the strategist said. In addition,
Bustamante had purchased $500,000 on Spanish-language TV,
but then moved $150,000 of it back to English channels.
Schwarzenegger's advertising buys are expected to increase
appreciably starting next week. Since Aug. 19, the
Republican has spent $1.5 million to $2 million a week, the
strategist said. By contrast, state Sen. Tom McClintock
(R-Thousand Oaks), the only other candidate registering at
least 10% in polls, has spent $40,000 on television ads in
San Diego, Yuma, Bakersfield and Monterey, and $110,000 on
The money hunt "is at a frenzied, frenetic pace," said San
Jose State political scientist Larry Gerston. "It shouldn't
be a surprise. Everything is compressed and you have to go
much faster And every single one of the people giving money
is contributing for one reason: the hope of having access
Last weekend in San Jose, Bustamante spoke of his
up-from-nothing beginnings to some 300 supporters, who for
$100 a head sampled a buffet of gorditas, chips, salsa and
carnitas, and listened to live harp music. Today, he has a
fund-raiser in Riverside.
Schwarzenegger, who has a fund-raising lunch scheduled
later this month in New York City, has two local events
scheduled Sunday, a $1,000-a-person garden party in Santa
Monica and a $5,000-per-couple reception in Los
California law limits the amount individuals or businesses
can give election campaigns to $21,200. Candidates,
however, can spend unlimited sums of their own money. And
there are no limits on the amount they can collect through
committees that target issues, such as pro- or anti-recall
efforts, although that money cannot be used to urge people
to vote for them. Davis is exempt from the limits because
he is the subject of the recall.
Bustamante and Schwarzenegger have had to explain aspects
of their fund-raising efforts. Schwarzenegger, a
multimillionaire who at first said he would not solicit
contributions, has accepted millions in donations, but not
from groups he calls "special interests." He has taken
money from real estate developers, farmers and other groups
with business before the state, but not unions or Indian
Bustamante, in turn, has been criticized for accepting
millions of dollars from California Indian tribes, money
that went to a pre-existing committee that is exempt from
new fund-raising limits. The seven-figure contributions
alienated some of his supporters, such as San Francisco
computer programmer Paul Rasmussen, who gave Bustamante
$100 in August.
"I don't usually give to political campaigns, but I had
heard he didn't have a lot of money, so I thought I'd help
him out," Rasmussen said. "That was before I heard about
Bustamante has transferred most of those funds into a new
committee that he says will be used to fight Proposition
54, an initiative to prohibit the gathering of many forms
of racial data.
Bustamante has raised $7.3 million in three committees, and
Indian tribes with casinos have given him nearly half that
sum â€" about $3.27 million. Organized labor is
his next largest donor at $1.64 million, campaign finance
reports filed through Friday show. These filings include
only donations above $1,000.
Indian tribes and labor unions are by far the biggest
donors to Bustamante's campaign. They make up the vast
majority of his large contributors and are in a class by
themselves. He also has received donations from trial
lawyers, utilities and cement companies.
Schwarzenegger has raised more than $8.5 million so far.
Since last Saturday, Schwarzenegger's campaign has held 12
fund-raising events, at least three of which the candidate
did not attend. He has given his committees $4 million. He
also has tapped real estate and business interests,
including a total of $121,200 from San Diego Chargers owner
Alex G. Spanos, and $100,000 each from Orange County home
builder William Lyons and the mortgage firm American
Schwarzenegger's largest donors â€" those giving
$10,000 or more to his campaign â€" mostly come
from the ranks of real estate developers, corporate
executives, investors, auto dealers, venture capitalists,
contractors and winemakers.
"You're raising money at the very end of the campaign so
you can turn it around and put it into television," said
Sragow, who noted that in a state the size of California it
is critical for contenders for statewide office to have a
televised media campaign weeks before election day in order
to capture absentee voters who make up more than a quarter
of votes cast in each election.
Bustamante and Schwarzenegger have spent tens of thousands
of dollars on paid professionals to help raise money
"The objective has always been to defeat Gray Davis," said
Kristin Hueter, a Bay Area fund-raiser who worked for
Republican candidates for 20 years. "The third time's the
charm." She joined the campaign "the day after Leno," when
Schwarzenegger surprised nearly everyone by announcing his
candidacy Aug. 6 on the "Tonight Show."
Hueter said she is organizing about 20 events in the Bay
Area, and had inquiries about even more. In most cases, she
said, the volunteer hosts do much of the tree-shaking
themselves, drawing on their own networks of politically
On Wednesday alone, Hueter arranged three events
â€" a $500-per-person lunch the candidate did
not attend, a $1,000 reception and $5,000 dinner with the
candidate at a car museum, and the rooftop affair with
canapes and cake on San Francisco's Russian Hill. She
called the fund-raising campaign "wild and unbelievable,
but it's working."
Outside the rooftop gathering, Schwarzenegger, who has said
he dislikes asking for money, told a reporter: "I think the
fund-raisers like this are pretty much all the same."
Bustamante's backers have mobilized as well, keeping him
busy at multiple events nearly every day. Santa Clara
County Supervisor Blanca Alvarado helped put together
Saturday's $100-a-head fund-raiser.
"We rallied within a matter of three weeks to prepare a
rally and we probably raised about $50,000 for him," said
Alvarado, who was one of five Latino leaders to contribute
At 11 a.m. that same day, about 50 Latino lawyers and
political leaders attended an intimate Fairmont Hotel
gathering that started at $250 per person. In Fresno on
Sunday, with a CD of the Gipsy Kings playing in the
background, Bustamante attended a $1,000-a-head cocktail
party at the trendy 609 Grille. Robert Wilkinson, a partner
in the Fresno law firm of Baker, Manock & Jensen, said
the 150-person event was a chance for Bustamante's longtime
supporters to get together socially.
But the candidates are spending the money nearly as fast as
they bring it in. Richie Ross, Bustamante's campaign
strategist, said he arrived to work Thursday to find only
$1,000 in the Bustamante for Governor account, which
contains the funds he can use to campaign directly for
office. "I would say [Bustamante's fund-raising] is going
just OK," Ross said. "I would not say it's going well. I
would not say it is going badly. Every day is a scramble."
Times staff writers Dan Morain, Mark Z. Barabak, Joel
Rubin and Allison Hoffman, and Chicago Tribune staff writer
John McCormick contributed to this report.
(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX)
These contributions were reported by major candidates on
the Oct. 7 ballot who have received at least $100,000 for
their gubernatorial campaigns. Totals are for all
contributions through Aug. 23 and for contributions of
$1,000 or more through Friday. Donations of $1,000 or more
must be reported within 24 hours of receipt.
Candidate or committee
Reported in 24 hours ending Friday
- The California Federation of Teachers and the Teamsters
union each gave the maximum $21,200* contribution to the
lieutenant governor. Trial lawyer Joseph W. Carcione of
Menlo Park contributed the same sum. So did the Sterling
Financial Group of Companies in Boca Raton, Fla. The
Morongo Band of Mission Indians, which operates a casino in
Cabazon, donated $20,000. Loretta Lynch, an appointee of
Gov. Gray Davis to the State Public Utilities Commission,
Bustamante controls three other committees: Californians
for Stability, an anti-recall fund that has raised
$412,500; the Cruz Bustamante Committee Against Prop. 54,
which has collected more than $4.3 million. Most of that
money was transferred from the Lt. Gov. Bustamante 2002
Committee, an old relection campaign fund. That committee
reported raising more than $882,435, excluding the
- Huffington received $5,000 from David Copley, president
of The Copley Press Inc. of La Jolla, publisher of the San
Diego Union-Tribune and other daily and weekly newspapers
in California, Illinois and Ohio.
- McClintock's largest contribution in the latest 24-hour
reporting period â€" $10,000 â€" came
from Sierra Toyota in Lancaster. C.W. Construction Inc. in
Rancho Cucamonga gave $5,000.
- Investor John Hurley of Cavalry Asset Management in San
Francisco donated $21,200. Sierra Linda Development of
Encinitas provided $10,000. Developer Douglas Allred of San
Diego gave $10,000, as did John Baumgardner, CEO of Ace
Parking in San Diego. Actor Tom Arnold, who appeared with
the candidate in "True Lies," contributed $1,500. Former
President George H. W. Bush sent $1,000.
Schwarzenegger also controls Arnold Schwarzenegger's Total
Recall, a pro-recall committee, which has raised more than
the Costly Recall
of the Governor
Gov. Gray Davis controls this anti-recall committee.
The Assn. of California School Administrators, based in
Burlingame, gave $50,000. The Morongo Band of Mission
Indians, who also gave to Bustamante, sent $21,200.
Director Rob Reiner of Beverly Hills sent $10,000.
Davis also continues to raise money through his former
reelection committee, the Gov. Gray Davis Committee, which
has transferred more than $886,000 to Californians Against
the Costly Recall.
A third committee, Taxpayers Against the Governor's Recall,
has reported more than $2.7 million in contributions.
*Contributions to candidates from each outside source are
limited to $21,200. There is no cap on the amount
candidates can give their own campaigns, or on donations to
Reported by Times staff writer Jeffrey L. Rabin and Times
researcher Maloy Moore.
Source: Campaign reports filed with the California
secretary of state.
Los Angeles Times
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