Gov. Davis raises $5.8 million for re-election

The Associated Press
Wednesday August 01, 2001

SACRAMENTO — Democratic Gov. Gray Davis has raised $5.8 million this year for his re-election bid, bringing his campaign treasury to $30.5 million. 

Davis’ nearly million-dollar-a-month fund-raising pace was revealed Tuesday in a summary of a long-anticipated campaign finance report covering the first six months of the year, when the state was hit with rolling blackouts and Davis saw his popularity slide. 

According to the report, the Davis campaign brought in $5.8 million and spent $1.9 million with more than a year to go before the election. 

Davis’ contributions dwarfed those of his two Republican challengers. Secretary of State Bill Jones’s gubernatorial campaign received $930,000 during the same fund-raising period, while Los Angeles businessman William E. Simon Jr. took in $2.9 million. 

Former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan has formed an exploratory committee but has not decided whether to run.  

Riordan, a wealthy businessman who has been encouraged by President Bush, is thought to be the most formidable rival, given Davis’ deep war chest and fund-raising skills. 

Davis’ chief campaign adviser Garry South said the governor raised money from “a broad-based group of donors.” 

Details of the contributors were not immediately available. 

Davis has been criticized for attending fund-raisers during the state’s worst  

energy crisis. 

South said the campaign canceled several fund-raisers and out-of-state trips during that period because of the governor’s duties during the power crunch. 

“We’ve still done pretty well this six months, but we would have done even better,” South said. 

Jones issued a statement Tuesday criticizing Davis’ “insatiable appetite for campaign contributions.” 

Meanwhile, Simon spokesman Jeff Flint said Davis “has raised the bar,” but that he is confident Simon can keep pace with the governor. 

South was unapologetic about the size of Davis’s campaign account. He said Davis will continue to solicit donations and said he expects Simon and Riordan, if he decides to run, to contribute large amounts of their own money. 

“We’ll be ready for whatever they throw at us,” South said. 

The Davis campaign spent some of the money on focus groups and opinion polls throughout his term in office, and Davis campaign aides launched his re-election campaign’s first radio ads in early July. 

The statewide ads, costing $150,000 a week, feature Davis thanking residents for conserving energy and discussing his approach to remedy the power crunch. 


On the Net: Campaign finance reports at http://cal-access.ss.ca.gov and Davis’ Web site at http://gray-davis.com/