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Stories about California

These 10 California donors gave over $56.3 million

In California politics, state-level candidates and political action committees have received $1.5 billion in total donations between Jan. 1, 2021, and June 30, 2022. The 10 largest donors gave more than $56.3 million, or 4 percent of all contributions.

These are the top 10 individual donors to California state-level candidates and political action committees (PACs) in the 2022 election cycle, according to campaign finance reports submitted to the California Secretary of State:

Top 10 California Donors (1/1/2021 – 6/30/2022)

Rank Donor Name Total Donations
1 Joseph Sanberg $10,925,000
2 John Cox $9,620,906
3 Cari Tuna $9,500,000
4 Michael Bloomberg $8,264,662
5 Yvonne Yiu $5,623,945
6 Reed Hastings $5,557,500
7 Patty Quillin $1,797,400
8 Jim Walton $1,783,751
9 Geoffrey Palmer $1,742,600
10 Elizabeth Diane Simons $1,461,400

The list of California donors in this time period includes more than 4,125 individuals identified by name in the California Secretary of State’s public records.

The data above are based on campaign finance reports that active California PACs submitted to the California Secretary of State. Federal PACs are not required to report to state agencies.

Transparency USA publishes campaign finance data following major reporting deadlines. State or federal law may require filers to submit additional reports. Data from additional reports due in between the deadlines below are published along with the reports listed here.

Report Name Due Date
Semiannual 1/31/2022
1st Pre-Election – Primary 4/28/2022
2nd Pre-Election – Primary 5/26/2022
Semiannual 8/1/2022
1st Pre-Election – General 9/29/2022
2nd Pre- Election – General 10/27/2022
Semiannual 1/31/2023

This article is a joint publication from Ballotpedia and Transparency USA, who are working together to provide campaign finance information for state-level elections. Learn more about our work here.



Six abortion-related measures are on the ballot in 2022—the most on record for a single year

In 2022, there are six ballot measures addressing abortion—the most on record. Measures have been certified for the ballot in California, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Montana, and Vermont. Votes on these ballot measures follow Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which held that the U.S. Constitution does not confer a right to abortion.

Voters in California, Michigan, and Vermont will be the first to decide on ballot measures to establish state constitutional rights to abortion. These measures are also the first abortion-related ballot measures since 1992 to have the support of organizations that describe themselves as pro-choice/pro-reproductive rights.

In August, voters in Kansas rejected a measure to provide that the state constitution cannot be interpreted to establish a state constitutional right to abortion. Turnout on the amendment was 49%, exceeding the number of votes cast in the state’s U.S. Senate and gubernatorial primaries on August 2. On November 8, voters in Kentucky will decide on a similar amendment. These types of amendments are designed to address previous and future state court rulings on abortion that have prevented or could prevent legislatures from passing certain abortion laws. 

In November, voters will decide on five abortion-related ballot measures:

  • California Proposition 1: Amends the California Constitution to provide that the state cannot “deny or interfere with an individual’s reproductive freedom in their most intimate decisions,” including decisions to have an abortion or to choose or refuse contraceptives
  • Kentucky Constitutional Amendment 2: Amends the Kentucky Constitution to state that nothing in the state constitution creates a right to abortion or requires government funding of abortions
  • Michigan Proposal 3: Amends the Michigan Constitution to provide a state constitutional right to reproductive freedom, defined to include abortion, contraception, and other matters related to pregnancy
  • Montana LR-131: Provides, in state law, that infants born alive at any stage of development are legal persons and requires medical care to be provided to infants born alive after an induced labor, cesarean section, attempted abortion, or another method
  • Vermont Amendment: Amends the Vermont Constitution to provide a state constitutional right to personal reproductive autonomy

From 1970 to August 2022, there have been 48 abortion-related ballot measures, and 41 (85%) of these had the support of organizations that described themselves as pro-life. Voters approved 11 (27%) and rejected 30 (73%) of these 41 ballot measures. The other seven abortion-related ballot measures had the support of organizations that described themselves as pro-choice or pro-reproductive rights. Voters approved four (57%) and rejected three (43%).

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$15.1 million raised in the race for California attorney general

The general election for the attorney general of California will take place on November 8, 2022. In total, candidates running for California attorney general have raised $15.1 million, received $140,000 in loans, and spent $20.3 million between Jan. 1, 2021, and Jun. 30, 2022. The top-two primary for this race was held on June 7, 2022.

Here’s the breakdown for the two candidates who are still in the running:

Active Attorney General Candidates’ Campaign Finance, 1/1/2021- 6/30/2022

CandidatePartyContributionsLoansExpenditures
Rob Bonta (Incumbent)Democratic$9,075,402.47$0$12,758,995.49
Nathan HochmanRepublican$3,087,574.43$50,000$2,911,520.52

The remaining $2,973,692 raised in the race for California attorney general went to candidates who did not advance to the general election.

Total fundraising in eight attorney general races in the 2022 election cycle

A number of factors, including whether an incumbent officeholder is running for re-election and number of candidates in a race, can influence donor activity. Here is how total fundraising by all candidates for California attorney general compares to the seven other attorney general races with campaign finance data available from Transparency USA for the 2022 election cycle:

RankStateTotal DonationsTotal CandidatesActive CandidatesAvailable Reporting Period
1Texas$30,761,1141131/1/2021 – 6/30/2022
2California$15,136,669.34521/1/2021 – 6/30/2022
3Arizona$9,199,0571331/1/2021 – 6/30/2022
4Florida$7,141,500421/1/2021 – 6/30/2022
5Michigan$5,276,457.07641/1/2021 – 8/22/2022
6Wisconsin$3,763,143621/1/2021 – 7/25/2022
7Minnesota$2,907,519821/1/2021 – 7/18/2022
8Ohio$2,867,606221/1/2021 – 6/30/2022

The data above are based on campaign finance reports that active California candidate PACs submitted to the California Secretary of State. Political expenditures that are not controlled by candidates or their campaigns, known as satellite spending, are not included in candidate totals.

Transparency USA publishes campaign finance data following major reporting deadlines. State or federal law may require filers to submit additional reports.

Name of ReportReporting PeriodDeadline
2022 Jan Semiannual7/1/21 – 12/31/211/31/2022
2022 1st Pre-Primary1/1/22 – 4/23/224/28/2022
2022 2nd Pre-Primary4/24/22 – 5/21/225/26/2022
2022 July Semiannual5/22/22 – 6/30/228/1/2022
2022 1st Pre-General7/1/22 – 9/24/229/29/2022
2022 2nd Pre-General9/25/22 – 10/22/2210/27/2022
2023 Jan Semiannual10/23/22 – 12/31/221/31/2023

This article is a joint publication from Ballotpedia and Transparency USA, who are working together to provide campaign finance information for state-level elections. Learn more about our work here.



All candidates for California’s 49th Congressional District complete Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey

Both of the candidates running in the November 8, 2022, general election for California’s 49th Congressional District —incumbent Mike Levin (D) and Brian Maryott (R)— completed Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey. These survey responses allow voters to hear directly from candidates about what motivates them to run for office.

The outcome of this race will affect the partisan balance of the U.S. House of Representatives in the 118th Congress. All 435 seats in the House are up for election. As of September 9th, 2022, Democrats hold a 220-210 advantage in the U.S. House with five vacant seats. California’s current congressional delegation consists of 42 Democrats and 11 Republicans.

Here are excerpts from candidates’ responses to the question: What areas of public policy are you personally passionate about?                                      

Levin:       

“Before I ran for Congress, I was a longtime advocate for climate action and a passionate believer in clean energy, with over a decade of experience in the industry helping to accelerate the transition towards more sustainable power generation and transportation options.”

Maryott:       

“We must get our nation’s financial house in order. I am eager to collaborate and lead on efforts to re-evaluate the role of federal government, and prioritize areas for reform. The CBO did a recent study and concluded that at the current rate of borrowing and spending increases – in twenty years over half of our annual tax revenues will be spent just servicing our debt.”

Click here to read their full responses to this and other questions.

We ask all federal, state, and local candidates with profiles on Ballotpedia to complete a survey and share what motivates them on political and personal levels. Ask the candidates in your area to fill out the survey.

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All candidates for San Diego Unified School District Board of Education District C complete Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey

Both of the candidates running in the November 8, 2022, general election for San Diego Unified School District Board of Education District C —Cody Petterson and Becca Williams— completed Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey. These survey responses allow voters to hear directly from candidates about what motivates them to run for office.

The San Diego Unified School District school board consists of five members elected by district to four-year terms.

Here are excerpts from candidates’ responses to the question: Who are you? Tell us about yourself. 

Petterson:       

“I’m a lifelong, 46-year resident of the District, a product of San Diego Unified, a UCSD lecturer, a policymaker, and a father. I have deep roots in the communities of coastal San Diego. I was brought home from University Hospital to UCSD’s Mesa Grad Student Apartments. I attended K-12 in San Diego Unified, I did my PhD in the UCSD Anthropology Department, and I’m the proud father of a Kindergartner and a Third Grader at Torrey Pines Elementary, where I serve on the School Site Council and Site Governance Team. I sit on the La Jolla Town Council and the Board of the San Diego International Sister Cities Association. I lecture in the UCSD Anthropology Department and serve as Senior Advisor for Education and Environment to San Diego County Supervisor Terra Lawson-Remer, who represents the subdistrict in its entirety. I’m fluent in Spanish and I’ve spent many years working and doing field research in Latin America, which I believe is essential in a district that is 47% Latinx and 27% English language learners.”

Williams:       

“Becca Williams is a founding member of Valor Education and founding board member of Valor Public Schools. In 2017 Valor Public Schools successfully obtained a charter to open three K-12 schools with a peak enrollment of 5,000 students in the Austin, Texas area. Valor’s distinct program offers students a full human education in the classical tradition, from the Great Books to advanced math and science. In 2021 parents gave Valor a 96% satisfaction rate, despite having to navigate through the difficulties of a pandemic, where a need for both in-person and distant learning emerged. Becca has also taught in first and fourth grade classrooms at one of the top charter schools in the country. A graduate of Belmont Abbey College, she holds a graduate degree in theology from the Pontifical John Paul II Institute in Washington D.C.” 

Click on candidates’ profile pages below to read their full responses to this and other questions.

We ask all federal, state, and local candidates with profiles on Ballotpedia to complete a survey and share what motivates them on political and personal levels. Ask the candidates in your area to fill out the survey.

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Frank Bigelow spent more than any other Republican Assembly candidate or officeholder in California

California Republican Assembly candidates and officeholders have spent $21.4 million during the 2022 election cycle. Among state representatives and candidates, Frank Bigelow has spent more than any other Republican.

Bigelow is the representative for California Assembly District 5 and is not up for re-election in 2022. Bigelow raised $2.2 million and spent $2.2 million between Jan. 1, 2021, and June 30, 2022. According to California Secretary of State reports, Bigelow spent the most money with the following individual payees and PACs.

Frank Bigelow’s Top 10 Payees, (1/1/2021 – 6/30/2022)

Of the $2.2 million in reported expenditures, $2.1 million went to these 10 payees:

Total Expenditures Name Type
$1,852,622 Frank Bigelow Campaign ENTITY
$74,772 Wendy Warfield & Associates Inc ENTITY
$43,385 California Republican Party ENTITY
$40,500 Sacramento County Republican Party ENTITY
$31,157 Bank of America ENTITY
$14,459 Vona Copp INDIVIDUAL
$12,730 Katie Phillips INDIVIDUAL
$10,000 California Youth Ag Expo ENTITY
$9,800 Greg Wallis Campaign ENTITY
$9,800 Janet Nguyen Campaign ENTITY

The data above are based on campaign finance reports that active California PACs submitted to the California Secretary of State. Political expenditures that are not controlled by candidates or their campaigns, known as satellite spending, are not included in candidate totals. Federal PACs are not required to report to state agencies. Transparency USA publishes campaign finance data following major reporting deadlines. State or federal law may require filers to submit additional reports.

See updates to Frank Bigelow’s campaign finance data after the next reports are available.

Report Name Due Date
Semiannual 1/31/2022
1st Pre-Election – Primary 4/28/2022
2nd Pre-Election – Primary 5/26/2022
Semiannual 8/1/2022
1st Pre-Election – General 9/29/2022
2nd Pre- Election – General 10/27/2022
Semiannual 1/31/2023

This article is a joint publication from Ballotpedia and Transparency USA, who are working together to provide campaign finance information for state-level elections. Learn more about our work here.



Phil Ting spent more than any other Democratic Assembly candidate or officeholder in California

California Democratic Assembly candidates and officeholders have spent $81.9 million during the 2022 election cycle. Among state representatives and candidates, Phil Ting has spent more than any other Democrat.

Ting is the representative for California Assembly District 19 and is running for re-election in 2022. Ting raised $4.0 million and spent $2.8 million between Jan. 1, 2021, and June 30, 2022. According to California Secretary of State reports, Ting spent the most money with the following individual payees and PACs.

Phil Ting’s Top 10 Payees, (1/1/2021 – 6/30/2022)

Of the $2.8 million in reported expenditures, $2.6 million went to these 10 payees:

Total Expenditures Name Type
$2,213,337 Phil Ting Campaign* ENTITY
$96,920 David Pruitt Consulting LLC ENTITY
$89,847 American Express ENTITY
$81,525 California Democratic Party ENTITY
$38,120 Annie Eagan Consulting Inc ENTITY
$27,384 River City Business Services ENTITY
$17,142 Tourn Players Club ENTITY
$11,554 Ngp Van Inc Federal ENTITY
$11,451 Kru Contemporary Japanese Cuisine ENTITY
$10,138 Rickshaw Bagworks Inc ENTITY

*This transaction reflects an expenditure reported by the “Phil Ting for Assembly 2020” campaign account to the “Phil Ting for Assembly 2022” account.

The data above are based on campaign finance reports that active California PACs submitted to the California Secretary of State. Political expenditures that are not controlled by candidates or their campaigns, known as satellite spending, are not included in candidate totals. Federal PACs are not required to report to state agencies. Transparency USA publishes campaign finance data following major reporting deadlines. State or federal law may require filers to submit additional reports.

See updates to Phil Ting’s campaign finance data after the next reports are available.

Report Name Due Date
Semiannual 1/31/2022
1st Pre-Election – Primary 4/28/2022
2nd Pre-Election – Primary 5/26/2022
Semiannual 8/1/2022
1st Pre-Election – General 9/29/2022
2nd Pre- Election – General 10/27/2022
Semiannual 1/31/2023

This article is a joint publication from Ballotpedia and Transparency USA, who are working together to provide campaign finance information for state-level elections. Learn more about our work here.



All candidates for Superior Court of Los Angeles County complete Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey

Both of the candidates running in the November 8, 2022, general election for Superior Court of Los Angeles County —Fernando Maria Barreto and Elizabeth Lashley-Haynes— completed Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey. These survey responses allow voters to hear directly from candidates about what motivates them to run for office.

The Superior Court of Los Angeles County is one of 58 superior courts in California. It has jurisdiction over Los Angeles County and conducts all original trials in the county, except in cases where the appellate level courts have original jurisdiction. 

Here are excerpts from candidates’ responses to the question: What do you believe are the core responsibilities for someone elected to this office?              

Barreto:       

“Justice should be accessible to everyone and as a judge, I will endeavor to fairly and equitably apply the law to every person that enters the courtroom, whether they are a plaintiff, a defendant, or a witness. I recognize there are specific and systemic issues within the justice system that need to be addressed to truly achieve justice for all, but for my part, I will give each person that comes before me an opportunity to be heard. I will take the time to listen to the parties and make knowledgeable, thoughtful rulings. The justice system is often scary and confusing for the people who use it and I will strive to guide individuals and families through this unfamiliar system and direct them to available resources.“

Lashley-Haynes:       

“Judges preside over trials and hearings. They enforce the rules of the court and hear arguments from attorneys, receive and review evidence and listen to witness testimony. Throughout the trial, judges must make accurate rulings on whether evidence or testimonies are admissible and relevant to the trial. Throughout the entire judicial process, judges must remain impartial. They must put aside all personal feelings and beliefs and make all rulings and decisions based on the evidence and relevant laws. In addition, a judge may not preside over a case if it involves her family, friends, or past or current employees or business associates. In those cases, the judge “recuses” herself and asks that another judge handle the matter.”  

Click on candidates’ profile pages below to read their full responses to this and other questions.

We ask all federal, state, and local candidates with profiles on Ballotpedia to complete a survey and share what motivates them on political and personal levels. Ask the candidates in your area to fill out the survey.

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All candidates for California State Assembly District 55 complete Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey

Both of the candidates running in the November 8, 2022, general election for California State Assembly District 55 —incumbent Isaac Bryan (D) and Keith Cascio (R)— completed Ballotpedia’s Candidate Connection survey. These survey responses allow voters to hear directly from candidates about what motivates them to run for office.

Eighty-eight of the country’s 99 state legislative chambers will hold regularly scheduled elections in 2022. The Democratic Party controls both chambers of California’s state legislature. California is one of 14 states with a Democratic trifecta government.

Here are excerpts from candidates’ responses to the question: What areas of public policy are you personally passionate about?                

Bryan:       

“Economic Justice Environmental Justice Criminal Justice Reform Housing/Homelessness. All the historic areas of inequity have been exacerbated by the Covid 19 pandemic. Now is the time for intersectional policy solutions that center those who have been most impacted by failed policies of the past.”

Cascio:       

“The three greatest concerns facing our beautiful district in 2022, all of which can be addressed with a commitment to economic justice and racial justice, are (1) emerging victorious from the scourge of COVID-19, (2) rebalancing of public safety and renewal of the community’s relationship with our law enforcement agencies, (3) compassion and discernment in improving the housing security of our neighbors in a time of housing scarcity.”

Click on candidates’ profile pages below to read their full responses to this and other questions.

We ask all federal, state, and local candidates with profiles on Ballotpedia to complete a survey and share what motivates them on political and personal levels. Ask the candidates in your area to fill out the survey.

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Two candidates running in the Nov. 8 general election for California’s 22nd Congressional District

California State Assemblymember Rudy Salas (D) and U.S. Rep. David Valadao (R) are running in the general election for California’s 22nd Congressional District on November 8, 2022. Heading into the election, the incumbent is Republican Connie Conway, who was first elected in a special election on June 7, 2022, to replace Devin Nunes. Conway chose not to run for a full term.

The Bakersfield Californian’s Sam Morgan has written, “Salas and Valadao have positioned themselves as independent-minded politicians in an effort to appeal to undecided and centrist voters.”

Salas is a member of the California State Assembly, a position to which he was first elected in 2011. Salas has run on his record in the Assembly, saying, “I’ve proven over the last decade that I’ve been able to deliver for Central Valley families. Whether that’s direct funding in million of dollars to expand nursing programs, bring new buildings, public safety, clean drinking water. There is a big difference between me and my opponents: I’ve been able to deliver on these things.” Salas has said he was the only Democrat to vote in 2017 against increasing the gasoline tax, saying, “I’m always going to do what I feel is right for Central Valley families, whether that a Democratic idea, a Republican idea, an independent idea.”

Valadao is a member of the U.S. House, representing the 21st Congressional District. Valadao represented the 21st Congressional District from 2013 to 2019. He lost in the 2018 general election but ran for his old seat in 2020 and won. Valadao said, “I’ll continue to be an independent member of Congress who will stand up to the divisive partisanship in Washington D.C., get things done to grow our local economy, and deliver more water for our farmers and communities.” Valadao has campaigned on protecting the Central Valley’s water supply and agricultural industry and ensuring veterans have “access to high quality healthcare, or education and employment opportunities here at home.” Valadao was one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach former President Donald Trump (R) for incitement of insurrection following the Jan. 6, 2021, breach of the U.S. Capitol.

California’s 22nd Congressional District boundaries changed following redistricting. According to Roll Call’s Kate Ackley, about 55% of the 22nd District’s population comes from the old 21st District, the district to which Valadao was elected in 2020.