Steve Harmon writes at The San Jose Mercury News that California Democrats owe the unions, big-time:
Labor's heavy lift on two campaigns paid big dividends last fall.
While the wealthy Munger siblings famously poured a combined $83 million into losing causes, labor unions flexed their financial muscle to capture two campaigns with about the same amount -- $85 million, according to the final round of the 2012 campaign finance reports, which were released late Thursday.
Labor went all in, spending $65 million to defeat Proposition 32, which would have stripped their political clout by outlawing the collection of union dues for political campaigns. That money enabled unions to put together a field program with volunteers blanketing the state, creating what union leaders say was a ripple effect that led to the stunning victory by Gov. Jerry Brown's tax-hike measure, Proposition 30.
Labor added more than $20 million to the Proposition 30 campaign and claim that the fervor behind those two campaigns helped Democrats capture super majorities in the Senate and Assembly.In California, state legislative campaigns costs as much as statewide campaigns in much of the country. The Riverside Press-Enterprise reports:
Last year’s campaign in Riverside County’s 31st Senate District consumed more than $9 million, making it the deepest political money pit of any California legislative contest in 2012, final reports show.
The second-most expensive legislative race last year, the Sacramento-area 8th Assembly District, racked up almost $8.4 million in total spending. Right behind it was the campaign in the Stockton-to-Modesto 5th Senate District, which burned through more than $8.1 million, according to end of-year campaign finance statements filed this week.
Lawmakers earn a base salary of $90,526, plus living expenses when the Legislature is in session.
“I had no idea it was going to cost as much as it did,” said state Sen. Richard Roth, D-Riverside, a Riverside attorney and first-time candidate who survived a bruising June primary campaign and went on to defeat Republican Jeff Miller, a state assemblyman, in the 31st. The seat includes Corona, Riverside, Moreno Valley and Perris.