Capitol Alert

AM Alert: Millions for California proposition campaigns create uneven fights

A Sacramento voter marks his ballot while voting in the primary election on June 3, 2014.
A Sacramento voter marks his ballot while voting in the primary election on June 3, 2014. The Associated Press

California ballot measure campaigns have raised more than $83 million since Aug. 1, and each of the six proposition races now features a deeply lopsided financial fight heading into the final weeks before Election Day.

Most askew is the campaign for Gov. Jerry Brown’s pet measures, Propositions 1 and 2, which would approve a $7.5 billion water bond and a create rainy-day reserve in the California budget. A joint committee has raised over $15.9 million since August, including almost $3.4 million from Brown’s own re-election campaign, compared to just $71,800 by opponents of Proposition 1. No fundraising committee opposing Proposition 2 has even been created.

The insurance companies and health care groups fighting Propositions 45 and 46 have also vastly outraised their supporters in recent weeks. Since August, they have poured almost $19.7 million into the campaign against Proposition 45, which would give the state insurance commissioner more regulatory power over health insurance rate hikes, 13.5 times what supporters such as the California Nurses Association and Consumer Watchdog raised. The $20.3 million against Proposition 46, which would raise the damages cap in medical malpractice lawsuits, dwarfs the $5.3 million raised in support by trial lawyers since August.

For the lower-profile Proposition 47, which would lessen sentencing for some petty crimes, and Proposition 48, a referendum on a tribal gaming compact, the contrast is just as stark. Supporters of Proposition 47, such as the American Civil Liberties Union, have easily outraised law enforcement opponents since August, about $7 million to $432,500. Proposition 48 is a battle between competing California tribes and their financial backers, but opponents of the new Indian casino that would be created have poured more than $13.1 million into their committee, 33 times what supporters have raised.

VIDEO: Though California's economy continues to expand, a dropping unemployment rate is not the whole picture, Dan Walters says.

WATER WORLD: Newly inaugurated state Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León is taking an early dive into the complex world of California water. He’ll offer his thoughts on the state’s severe drought, Proposition 1 and upcoming water policy issues as the keynote speaker at the Southern California Water Committee’s annual dinner, 8:15 p.m. at the Sheraton Universal Hotel in Universal City.

BATTLING ON: With less two weeks to go in his fiercely contested re-election race, Rep. Ami Bera, D-Elk Grove, is bringing in the chairman of the House Democratic Caucus for back-up. Rep. Xavier Becerra, D-Los Angeles, will join Bera at his campaign headquarters in Elk Grove at 11 a.m. for a get-out-the-vote rally.

STATEWIDE SURVEY: Will Brown’s millions push Propositions 1 and 2 over the edge? How are the hard-fought campaigns for Propositions 45 and 46 faring with voters? The Public Policy Institute of California outlines the results of its latest poll on the governor’s race and November ballot measures, noon at the CSAC Conference Center on 11th Street.

EARLY BIRD: His birthday isn’t until November 5, a most inconvenient time for campaign season, so Sen. Ricardo Lara is celebrating early. The Bell Gardens Democrat is hosting a birthday celebration trip to Catalina Island today, where supporters can pay between $1,500 and $4,100 to join him for an overnight excursion to the famed tourist destination off the coast of Los Angeles.

CELEBRATIONS: Happy birthday to Assemblywoman Mariko Yamada, D-Davis, who turns 64 today.

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