SAN FRANCISCO – Gov. Gray Davis (search) is topping the field of candidates in the recall campaign money chase with challenger Arnold Schwarzenegger (search) close behind, campaign finance records show.
The first detailed disclosures, covering activity from Jan. 1 to Aug. 23, also show candidates setting up separate campaign committees to circumvent the state's newly enacted campaign finance law.
As the target of the recall, Davis is exempt from new regulations that limit individual contributions to $21,200 apiece. His challengers are not exempt, though Schwarzenegger and Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante (search) have set up separate recall committees not subject to the limitations.
The records released Thursday show Davis has raised $4.2 million in two separate committees - the new Californians Against the Costly Recall (search) and the long-standing Gov. Gray Davis Committee. He has spent about $1 million.
Californians for Schwarzenegger (search), the Republican actor's official committee, raised $3.1 million - $2 million from the candidate himself. Total Recall, permitted to solicit unlimited sums, raised $100,000. The actor has spent about $2.6 million total.
Bustamante, a Democrat like Davis, raised $333,000 with his official committee, Yes on Bustamante, and spent $135,000.
But his recall committee, Californians for Stability (search), raised $30,000 during the filing period and has raked in more since then, including $100,000 from the powerful public employee union AFSCME (search). The union has also contributed $200,000 to Bustamante's lieutenant governor's committee, which can legally transfer the money into his gubernatorial campaign.
Amounts raised by other serious contenders in the Oct. 7 special election:
- Businessman Peter Ueberroth (search), a Republican, raised $2.36 million, $1 million from his own pocket. He spent close to $1.5 million.
- Republican state Sen. Tom McClintock (search) raised close to $538,000, most of it from small donors over the Internet. He spent about $346,000.
- Columnist Arianna Huffington (search) raised $334,171. About $150,000 came from donations made through her Web site. She spent $260,806.