Several Democrats running for statewide office hold commanding fundraising leads over their Republican opponents heading into the general election campaign, according to campaign finance reports due Thursday.
Meanwhile, a pair of Democrats running for nonpartisan state schools chief had almost identical financial pictures on June 30, the end of the filing period. Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson finished June with $194,550 on hand and rival Marshall Tuck had $179,913.
Torlakson, the incumbent and a close ally of teachers unions, raised $778,335 and spent $1.15 million through the primary election. He also reported $7,611 in debt. Tuck, a former charter school executive, raised $814,580, spent $1 million and had $31,900 in outstanding debts.
Facing nominal challenges, a handful of the Democrats have been able to amass millions of dollars that could be used for future runs. Democratic Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and Attorney General Kamala Harris have collected $2.3 million and $3.6 million, respectively.
Newsom raised $894,802 and spent $314,443 over the first half of the year, according to the reports. His re-election campaign reported $24,409 in debt. Former California Republican Party chairman Ron Nehring, Newsom’s opponent in November, finished the period with $10,546. He raised $32,048 and spent $21,702.
Harris took in $999,282 and spent $528,113 through June 30. She reported $14,139 in debt. GOP contender Ron Gold emerged from the period $870 in the red with $14,500 in unpaid bills. Gold raised $29,236 this year.
Controller John Chiang, widely considered a lock to become the next state treasurer, ended the period with $2.54 million cash on hand while Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones, a strong favorite to win re-election, had nearly $2 million.
Chiang raked in $1.01 million, spent $307,843 and owed $1,287. Republican Greg Conlon had $6,966 in the bank. He raised $28,645, made $21,679 in expenditures and had $2,947 in debt.
Jones collected $811,400, spent $271,294 and had $28,622 in debt. His opponent, Republican Sen. Ted Gaines of Roseville, had $49,949 after raising $132,672 and spending $190,756 during the priod. Gaines, who owes $40,109, has about $178,002 in a seperate campaign for his Senate re-election campaign in 2016.
Call Christopher Cadelago, Bee Capitol Bureau, (916) 326-5538. Follow him on Twitter @ccadelago