Candidates and committees raised a combined $142 million for the Sept. 14, 2021, recall election of California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), according to final campaign finance figures. In that election, voters retained Newsom as governor by a vote of 61.9% to 38.1%. Roughly 12.8 million people voted. The ballot asked voters first if they would like to recall Newsom, and then who they would like to elect in his place. Candidates and committees raised money for both questions.
The California Secretary of State required all candidates in the replacement question and committees registered in support or opposition to the recall effort to file final campaign finance reports on or before Jan. 31, 2022. Those reports became available publicly online in early February.
Republican candidates and committees registered in support of the recall raised $53.1 million, while Democratic candidates and committees registered in opposition of the recall raised $88.9 million. Spending totaled $145.4 million, with Republicans and support committees spending $53.5 million and Democrats and opposition committees spending $91.9 million.
On the recall question, committees raised $109.3 million and spent $113.5 million. The nine registered support committees raised $20.9 million and spent $22.2 million. The 20 registered opposition committees raised $88.4 million and spent $91.4 million. This fundraising figure is more than double the average amount raised for recent citizen-initiated ballot measures in California. Committees raised an average of $50.6 million supporting and opposing each of the 31 citizen-initiated measures on the ballot in California from 2016 to 2020.
On the replacement candidate question, candidates raised $32.7 million and spent $31.9 million. Republican candidates raised $32.2 million and spent $31.4 million, while Democratic candidates raised $484,497 and spent $529,659. Republicans Larry Elder ($16.8 million), John Cox ($9.4 million), Kevin Faulconer ($2.7 million), and Kevin Kiley ($1.1 million) all raised more than $1 million. Kevin Paffrath ($452,670) and Jacquelin McGowan ($31,827) were the only Democrats to report fundraising.