Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom kept up his relatively aggressive fundraising in the second half of last year, raising about $3.3 million and starting an online advertising campaign far ahead of the 2018 race for governor, according to campaign finance reports filed Monday.
Newsom ended 2015 with $5.4 million cash on hand. He will also carry over about $3 million from his lieutenant governor’s account.
He reported paying Facebook Inc. nearly $73,000 for online advertising from July to December, as he seeks to increase his social media footprint and grow his campaign’s fundraising lists.
The 48-year-old Democrat and former mayor of San Francisco has stood for nearly a year as the only declared candidate in what is likely to become a crowded race to succeed Gov. Jerry Brown in 2018.
Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and former state Controller Steve Westly are both expected to run but have not yet announced their candidacies or started raising money. Other potential Democratic candidates include billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer, Secretary of State Alex Padilla and Treasurer John Chiang.
Chiang ended 2015 with about $3.3 million left over from his last campaign, money he could carry over.
Newsom’s rake in the second half of last year slightly exceeded, on a monthly average, the first five months of his campaign.
The totals are especially significant to Newsom, who struggled to raise money in a brief, unsuccessful bid for governor in the run-up to the 2010 election.
Newsom benefited for support from his base in the Bay Area, with major donations from billionaires George Soros and Peter Thiel, Salesforce.com founder Marc Benioff and members of the Fisher family, which owns Gap Inc. He also drew money from Hollywood, including DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg, and from several labor unions.