Tuesday, December 20, 2016

John Chiang Has Raised A lot of Money for Gubernatorial Bid

The California governor will be an open seat race in 2018. A lot of candidates have jumped in and more may do so. A Field poll taken after last month's election put Gavin Newsom firmly in the lead with 23%. Republicans Kevin Faulconer and Ashley Swearengin were second and third. In a Top Two primary we don't need to look any further. Several declared Democratic candidates were in the single digits, with state Treasurer John Chiang at a measly 2%. This surprised me, because Chiang has been overwhelmingly voted to statewide office three times. That's a really really low total.

The good news for Chiang is that California has very loose campaign finance laws. That might surprise some people because Democrats control California and they're always complaining about money in politics. But most of the money here is Democratic money and restricting that would only hurt Democratic candidates. They wouldn't want to do that. While a person can only give $2,700 per election to a Federal candidate, an individual can give $29,200 to a gubernatorial candidate. That's good news for John Chiang, because he's been bringing in big contributions. Chiang is going to need to spend some money because the voters clearly aren't that excited about him yet.

Some people have speculated that some gubernatorial candidates might switch over to the U.S. Senate race if Dianne Feinstein retires. I don't know if any of the campaign money can be used for a Federal race but if it can, it'll only be a fraction. If someone gives $29,200, the most that could be moved would be $2,700. The more money he raises for governor, the less likely a switch to Senate is.

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