- Californians have until September 14th to vote in the recall election.
- Gavin Newsom has raised nearly $70 million from progressive donors.
- Recall elections in California don’t enforce limits on contributions for the governor.
More than a fifth of registered voters in California have voted in the recall election of Governor Gavin Newsom. Golden State residents have until September 14th to make their voices heard. But given Gov. Gav’s cash advantage, many are asking: is there really a chance to replace him?
Because the rules for recall elections in California are more than a century old, they provide Governor Newsom with a tremendous fundraising advantage: no limits on contributions. “While individual contributions in an election are capped at $32,500 per candidate, contributions to a pro- or anti-recall campaign have no legal limits,” The Guardian reports.
You may be wondering, does that really make that big of a difference? Yes. Absolutely.
Newsom is on track to raise more than $70 million dollars for his recall PAC, Democratic Action Against the Recall of Governor Newsom. Frontrunner challenger Larry Elder has raised just $6 million dollars (and the other candidate war chests aren’t even worth mentioning).
So who’s writing big checks to Gov. Gav? Some old familiar, progressive faces. Netflix co-CEO Reed Hastings dropped $3 million to help the governor; billionaire philanthropist George Soros has donated $1 million dollars to the anti-recall effort; Priscilla Chan, wife of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, gave $750,000 – the list goes on and on.
Can we call an election fair if the rules aren’t the same for everyone? Isn’t it clear that Governor Newsom, with more than ten times the money of the next guy, has an incredible advantage? The airwaves are currently running $3 million in Newsom ad buys – that’s half of Elder’s total cash haul.
According to Pew Research, Americans overwhelmingly support stricter campaign finance laws, including restrictions on how influential single individuals (donors) can be. The recall election of Gavin Newsom is a shining example of why we need campaign finance reform now more than ever.