AM Alert: Millions for California Proposition Campaigns Create Uneven Fights

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California ballot measure campaigns have raised more than $83 million since Aug. 1, and each of the six proposition races now features a deeply lopsided financial fight heading into the final weeks before Election Day.

Most askew is the campaign for Gov. Jerry Brown’s pet measures, Propositions 1 and 2, which would approve a $7.5 billion water bond and a create rainy-day reserve in the California budget. A joint committee has raised over $15.9 million since August, including almost $3.4 million from Brown’s own re-election campaign, compared to just $71,800 by opponents of Proposition 1. No fundraising committee opposing Proposition 2 has even been created.

The insurance companies and health care groups fighting Propositions 45 and 46 have also vastly outraised their supporters in recent weeks. Since August, they have poured almost $19.7 million into the campaign against Proposition 45, which would give the state insurance commissioner more regulatory power over health insurance rate hikes, 13.5 times what supporters such as the California Nurses Association and Consumer Watchdog raised. The $20.3 million against Proposition 46, which would raise the damages cap in medical malpractice lawsuits, dwarfs the $5.3 million raised in support by trial lawyers since August.

For the lower-profile Proposition 47, which would lessen sentencing for some petty crimes, and Proposition 48, a referendum on a tribal gaming compact, the contrast is just as stark. Supporters of Proposition 47, such as the American Civil Liberties Union, have easily outraised law enforcement opponents since August, about $7 million to $432,500. Proposition 48 is a battle between competing California tribes and their financial backers, but opponents of the new Indian casino that would be created have poured more than $13.1 million into their committee, 33 times what supporters have raised.

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