Political donors have spent a record $458 million on 17 statewide November ballot initiatives in California, beating the state’s own record for the most spent on propositions appearing on state ballots in a single year, campaign reports filed Thursday show.
The fundraising has soared at least $20 million past California’s previous record, when $438 million was spent on the campaigns for and against 21 measures on 2008 ballots. With inflation, fundraising in 2008 would be worth at least $490 million today.
No other state has come close to those amounts.
California is one of the few states that empower voters to enact laws affecting state revenue and spending. The proposals going before the state’s 18 million registered voters put billions of dollars at stake in this election.
“That’s big business,” said Jessica Levinson, a professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, who commented before the record was broken. She and other campaign finance experts stress that big money flows to the contests that will have the biggest financial impact and the final push to sway voters is likely to include a spending blitz.