SACRAMENTO — Democratic Gov. Gray Davis had $12 million on hand as of Oct. 19 for the closing days of his re-election bid — 10 times as much as Republican challenger Bill Simon, according to campaign reports submitted Thursday.
Davis has raised a record-breaking $67 million for his effort to win a second term. And new reports show he has spent $51 million this year, largely on a sustained statewide television campaign attacking Simon and defending his record in the face of low popularity marks.
Simon, meanwhile, lent his campaign $1.25 million from his personal pocketbook Wednesday, bringing to $10.25 million the amount he has provided in loans for his election bid, records show. Originally, campaign officials said Simon would contribute around $2 million, but Wednesday they hinted the amount could be lower.
His campaign has suffered several high-profile stumbles and he has been unable to draw the donations needed to match Davis’ mammoth campaign treasury. Simon reported having $1.2 million in cash available on Oct. 19, about enough for a weeklong statewide television advertising buy.
According to the reports filed Thursday, covering fund-raising activity between Oct. 1 and Oct. 19, Davis spent $12.2 million during the two-week period compared to $5.4 million by Simon. Simon raised $2.5 million during that period, compared to Davis’ $3.5 million.
Simon’s campaign aides early on said they expected to spend $60 million on his challenge, but current records show he has spent half that. And some major donations that the Simon camp hoped to receive have failed to materialize.
For instance, reports show the Republican National Committee gave Simon $900,000. RNC officials had said they would provide between $1 million and $2 million.
Meanwhile, Simon kept up his budget attack on Davis during a Southern California campaign swing Thursday, warning business leaders to “prepare for higher taxes if Mr. Davis is re-elected.”
“Do not prepare for higher taxes if I’m elected,” Simon told about 300 people at a luncheon speech organized by the Long Beach Chamber of Commerce. He repeated a warning he first sounded in a speech Tuesday that Davis would raise taxes by more than $10 billion if re-elected.
“I’m purely making a statement based upon my belief based upon Gov. Davis’ actions in the past,” he said, referring to a Davis budget proposal in May that included $3.7 billion in tax increases and other one-time adjustments to make up a $23.6 billion deficit.
The Legislature never approved the Davis-proposed tax increase package, but instead used a complicated mix of borrowing, cutting, shifting funds and delaying spending and some tax breaks to balance the budget.
Analysts have said lawmakers exhausted the easiest solutions and one-time cuts and likely will have to raise taxes or carve deeply into critical programs to make up an estimated $10 billion to $15 billion deficit next year.
Davis campaign spokesman Roger Salazar called Simon’s criticism “rash statements” and said Davis has provided $4 billion in tax relief during his first term in office. “The governor has always said that his preference is to avoid tax increases.”
Simon’s campaign day Thursday hit a snag when his natural fuel campaign bus broke down on the way from Long Beach to Los Angeles for a tour and news briefing at the Museum of Tolerance.
Simon continued on to the museum in a sports utility vehicle that was traveling with his bus, a converted public transit vehicle from Ohio that reads “Bill Simon” on the side and “Fire Davis” on the back.