Capitol Alert

Outside groups stock up for California schools chief race

Los Angeles businessman Eli Broad, seen here in 2006, gave $1 million to an independent expenditure supporting Marshall Tuck.
Los Angeles businessman Eli Broad, seen here in 2006, gave $1 million to an independent expenditure supporting Marshall Tuck. The Associated Press

Independent expenditure committees have set aside almost $5.5 million in the past week for the final stage of California’s hotly contested superintendent of public instruction race, an ideologically charged battle that has pitted incumbent Tom Torlakson against former schools executive Marshall Tuck over teacher job protections.

A committee backing Tuck, who built his campaign on his support for a June court ruling declaring California’s teacher tenure and dismissal laws unconstitutional, has already raised more than $4 million from prominent business and technology figures since it was created last Friday.

The fund includes $1 million each from Los Angeles businessmen Bill Bloomfield and Eli Broad, a major financier of efforts to overhaul public education. The Gap co-founder Doris Fisher and Laurene Powell Jobs, philanthropist and widow of Steve Jobs, have each contributed $500,000.

The group has spent $287,850 so far, primarily for radio airtime and production costs. Bloomfield separately spent another $280,505 on behalf of Tuck, mostly for slate mailers.

The California Teachers Association also dropped another $1.4 million this week into its committee supporting Torlakson, who has joined California in appealing the teacher tenure ruling. The fund now stands at almost $2 million, including support from other labor unions.

While the committee has not made any expenditures since the primary, the CTA recently bought almost $2 million worth of “issue ads” touting Torlakson’s achievements in his first term. Additionally, the California Democratic Party spent $241,271 this week on behalf of Torlakson, mostly for printing, mail production and postage, and the California Federation of Teachers spent almost $3,000 for a mailer.

Call The Bee’s Alexei Koseff, (916) 321-5236. Follow him on Twitter @akoseff.

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