Capitol Alert

See the 20 most expensive political campaigns in California

Andy Vidak, R-Hanford, right, laughs in a light-hearted moment as he is given the ceremonial oath of office by Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, at the Capitol on Aug. 12, 2013.
Andy Vidak, R-Hanford, right, laughs in a light-hearted moment as he is given the ceremonial oath of office by Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, at the Capitol on Aug. 12, 2013. AP

Senate races in the south coast, Sacramento and Central Valley burned through more than $27 million during the 2013-14 election cycle, according to end-of-year spending reports, which show that candidates and independent groups collectively spent at least $150 million on Assembly and Senate contests statewide over the two-year election cycle.

As 2014 began, Democrats’ two-thirds super-majorities were at stake in both houses. In the Senate, the campaigns of former Assemblyman Jose Solorio, D-Santa Ana, and Orange County Supervisor Janet Nguyen, R-Garden Grove, spent more than $4 million in the battle for the redrawn 34th Senate District, on top of another $4.9 million in independent spending by unions, Realtors, and other outside groups, for a total cost of $8.9 million million.

The second-most expensive race was in the San Francisco East Bay's 16th Assembly District, where both the primary and general election campaigns ran into the millions of dollars, totaling $8.1 million by the end.

In the Sacramento region, Democrat-vs-Democrat contests ranked among the top-20 in cost. The 6th Senate District race between Assembly colleagues Roger Dickinson and Richard Pan cost more than $6.5 million, the third-most expensive race statewide. And the campaign for the 9th Assembly District between Elk Grove Councilman Jim Cooper and Sacramento Council Darrell Fong cost almost $2.9 million.

Also, the crowded June primary fight in the Napa-to-Davis 4th Assembly District cost $2.8 million, 17th-highest in the state.

In 2013, Hanford Republican Andy Vidak won a special election for what was then the 16th Senate District, a race that cost more than $6.3 million. Democrats took another run at Vidak in the redrawn Fresno-to-Bakersfield 14th Senate District, in a contest that exceeded $5.5 million.

The chart below shows the top-20 most expensive regularly scheduled elections. Hover or tap for more information, or click here.

Note: Totals exclude candidates’ contributions to other campaign committees. Numbers are as of Wednesday and reflect 2013-14 spending by all candidate-controlled committees.

Editor’s note: This post was updated at 4:15 p.m. Friday to correct some double-counting of subvendor expenses.

Call Jim Miller, Bee Capitol Bureau, (916) 326-5521. Follow him on Twitter @jimmiller2.

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