Wealthy Charter School Donors Spent Record High on Antonio Villaraigosa for CA Governor
A group of wealthy donors advocating for charter schools raised over $15 million for Antonio Villaraigosa’s California governorship race. The amount is the highest spending by an independent political committee for any governorship race in California in years. Despite the million dollar budget, Villaraigosa lost in Tuesday’s primary and will not be on the ballot in the general election. The charter school donors came together under the “Families & Teachers for Antonio Villaraigosa for Governor 2018” campaign team.
Villaraigosa was a former Los Angeles Mayor. His own campaign team raised $7.8 million and the mega-donors behind him raised nearly twice as much through the charter schools supporting his election campaign. Here is a little breakdown of contributions from six donors to Villaraigosa’s political goals:
- Netflix CEO Reed Hastings – $7 million
- Entrepreneur Eli Broad – $2.5 million
- Former Mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg – $2.5 million
- Investor William Oberndorf – $2 million
- Other contributors – up to $1 million
The independent expenditure committee also donated up to $1.1 million to oppose the governorship bid of Republican John Cox. Both Villaraigosa and Cox were vying for second place behind Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom. In California, the top two candidates in a primary election contend against each other in the general election in November.
Proposition 34 does not allow individual persons to give beyond a certain amount to political candidates in California, but outside organizations are exempted from this limit. Also, following the ruling of the Supreme Court in Citizens v. FEC in 2010, the independent expenditure committee limits were raised.
“Only two other committees have spent even half as much on a governor’s race as the pro-charter group backing Villaraigosa,” according to MapLight. “And the pro-charter organization still has nearly $2 million remaining in its treasury.”
Reflectively, real estate developer Angelo Tsakopoulos supported a donor group which gave about $10 million to former California Treasurer Phil Angelides when he ran for governor in 2006. Angelides lost in the election. The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) in 2010 also supported an independent committee to give over $8 million to Gov. Jerry Brown when he ran against billionaire Meg Whitman.