Special-election factions spent $303.9 million on race

first_imgSACRAMENTO – Campaign committees battling over the eight propositions on last November’s special election ballot spent a record $303.9 million, according to campaign reports filed this week. All eight of the initiatives, including four promoted by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, went down to defeat despite, or perhaps because of, the spending barrage. “It shows that if you have enough money, you certainly can have your issue presented to voters,” said Robert Stern, president of the Center for Governmental Studies, a Los Angeles-based campaign think tank. “But it also shows if you have enough money, you can defeat almost any issue.” The previous record for spending on ballot measures in a single California election was $253.6 million, set in November 2004, according to figures from the Secretary of State’s Office. Stern said the governor might have had better luck if he had waited to put his proposals on either the June or November ballots this year instead of calling a special election. Voters, he said, were turned off by the idea of spending millions to hold the election. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESanta Anita opens winter meet Saturday with loaded card Schwarzenegger contributed $6.5 million of his own money to his losing cause. His two main campaign committees, the California Recovery Team and Citizens to Save California, spent nearly $56 million altogether to try to persuade voters to approve Propositions 74, 75, 76 and 77. The measures would have extended the probationary period for new teachers, made it tougher for public employee unions to raise campaign money, given the governor new powers to control state spending and taken redistricting duties away from the Legislature. Also on the ballot were measures that would have required parental notification or a judge’s waiver before a minor could get an abortion, attempted to lower the cost of prescription drugs for low-income Californians and reinstate some controls on the state’s electricity market. Schwarzenegger was heavily supported by his business allies, but the public employees and Democrats fighting his proposals spent nearly $133 million in opposition. last_img read more