Show Us the Money – State Controller Candidates

It appears that one candidate for State Controller has far outraised the other, but will a giant campaign bank account help that candidate win?  

Despite all the campaign finance disclosure rules, we currently have very little information about who’s been raising what from whom and where it’s being spent. What we do have is LCRs: candidates for state office have to file reports within 24 hours of receiving contributions of $1,000 or more.  They’re called “Election Cycle Reports” or more commonly referred to as Late Contribution Reports – LCRs..  

To see comprehensive reports, we will all have to wait 3 more weeks.  The first pre-election report will be available on Thursday, September 29.  This will show data for the time period July 1 – September 24.  The second pre-election report will be available on October 27 for the time period September 25 – October 22.  

In order to give Peekers some idea of where the contested statewide campaigns stand in the money race, Calpeek’s immense research staff took to the Secretary of State’s CalAccess website for clues.  

This week, we’re looking at the race for State Controller, where Republican Lanhee Chen appears to be outraising Democrat Malia Cohen approximately 7-1.  

Cohen ended the primary with about $160,000 in the bank (minus outstanding debts).  We won’t know until September 29 what she raised in July.  The Late Contribution Reports don’t give us information about contributions under $1,000, but they do indicate that she raised over $100,000 in larger donations.  Most of these funds came from labor unions.  

Republican Lanhee Chen ended the primary with over $2.1 million in the bank (minus outstanding debts).  Based only on the Late Contribution Reports, Chen has brought in about $720,000 in donations over $1,000.  Most of these funds came from individuals.

Clearly Chen is winning the money race and his supporters are enthusiastically opening their wallets, but will his fundraising help him overcome the disparity in party registration?

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