GOP donors giving up on Bill Simon

The Associated Press
Monday August 05, 2002


LOS ANGELES — Some big-money donors who traditionally give to Republican candidates have been sending checks to Democratic Gov. Gray Davis while withholding their largesse from his GOP challenger, Bill Simon, according to an analysis Sunday by the Los Angeles Times. 

The development underscores that the governor’s middle-of-the-road policies have ingratiated him with traditional Republican constituencies like business and industry. And it’s another bad sign for Simon that suggests the donors are betting Davis will win re-election. 

“I don’t think any of us want to throw money away on a campaign without being convinced it can win,” John J. Coffey, general manager of government relations for ChevronTexaco Corp., said of the struggling Simon. “Maybe at some point you get there, but not yet.” 

ChevronTexaco has given Davis $216,000 and nothing to Simon. By contrast four years ago, when Davis ran against then-Attorney General Dan Lungren, Chevron donated $207,000 to the GOP candidate. 

Traditional GOP backer The Irvine Co. donated $300,000 to Lungren, but has given $73,152 to Davis since he took office while giving no money to Simon. 

Timber interests, which gave heavily to Lungren, have donated more than $450,000 to Davis. The agricultural industry, another traditional source of cash for Republicans, has given the governor roughly $1.5 million. 

Some donors that split their giving between Davis and Lungren four years ago have given only to Davis this time around. E&J Gallo, for example, gave $104,000 to Lungren and $100,000 to Davis. This time around Gallo has donated $215,000 to Davis and nothing to Simon. 

The trend has contributed to Davis’ huge lead over Simon in fund-raising. As of the end of June the governor had about $31 million in the bank while Simon had roughly $5 million.