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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

The Money Never Was There for de Leon

In Defying the Odds, we discuss congressional elections as well as the presidential race.  Campaign finance is a big part of the story.

In California's top-two primary, State Senator Kevin deLeon (D) finished second to incumbent Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein.  But the money has not been there for him to make a serious run in the general election.

Kathleen Ronayne at AP: 
Neither had won the party endorsement ahead of the primary. But when the roughly 330-member executive board gathered in July, de Leon came out ahead. He has been more of a fixture at state party events than Feinstein over the years, building up a cache of goodwill, and members of the executive board tend to be the most progressive in the party.
The endorsement earned de Leon a spot on official party mailers and allowed him to open a joint political action committee that could accept bigger donations than his campaign.
But that committee brought in just $374,000, a fraction of what’s needed to buy television advertisements in California. In his campaign account, de Leon raised $1.6 million as of mid-October. Feinstein has raised nearly $9 million and lent herself millions more.
Other high-profile endorsements for de Leon didn’t come with much cash either.

Billionaire Tom Steyer, who has committed spending more than $120 million to elect Democrats this cycle, donated $5,400 to de Leon’s campaign and another $10,000 to the PAC, but he never ran any independent ads on his friend’s behalf. Two major unions, the California Labor Federation and Service Employees International Union California, also endorsed de Leon but did not do major spending on his behalf, although they campaigned for him through door-knocking and direct mail.
Instead, the groups spent big on U.S. House candidates and ballot measures.