A union-funded independent expenditure committee Wednesday reported spending almost $170,000 on online ads to help elect state Sen. Alex Padilla as California secretary of state, the most independent spending by far in any Nov. 4 partisan statewide contest.
A September Field Poll showed Padilla, D-Los Angeles, with a seven-point lead over Republican Pete Peterson, the director of the Davenport Institute at Pepperdine University. In addition, only 7 percent of Californians even know that the secretary of state’s office manages California elections, according to a recently released survey by Pew Charitable Trusts.
Steve Smith, a spokesman for the California Labor Federation, the sponsor of the Committee for Working Families, said the group thought Padilla’s candidacy needed a boost.
“We really didn’t see that there was a big focus on the secretary of state’s race,” Smith said. “Historically low turnout is obviously a concern in a number of races, including the secretary of state’s race.”
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The independent spending for Padilla is a sliver of the more than $17.6 million in independent expenditures in Nov. 4 campaigns through Wednesday. There has been almost $4.3 million in outside spending in the race for superintendent for public instruction between incumbent Tom Torlakson and former schools executive Marshall Tuck.
Orange County’s 34th Senate District contest had about $2.5 million in outside spending, followed by about $1.1 million in independent expenditures in the Sacramento-centered 6th Senate District.
Call Jim Miller, Bee Capitol Bureau, (916) 326-5521. Follow him on Twitter @jimmiller2.