The race to become California’s next governor is already awash in cash

on Aug3

A small field of candidates hoping to succeed Gov. Jerry Brown next year has already raised more than $30 million. Here’s what we know.

Who’s raised the most?

Gavin Newsom, whose donors range from Silicon Valley to Hollywood, has raised more money than his competition combined. Asian American business leaders have contributed large sums to John Chiang, while Antonio Villaraigosa has reached out to wealthy Angelenos.

Total (in millions)
1. Gavin Newsom (D)
Lieutenant governor
2. John Chiang (D)
State treasurer
3. Antonio Villaraigosa (D)
Former mayor of Los Angeles
4. John Cox (R)
Businessman and venture capitalist
5. Delaine Eastin (D)
Former state superintendent of public instruction
6. Travis Allen (R)
Assemblyman from Huntington Beach

Newsom is out to an early lead

The other candidates are scrambling to catch Newsom, who was fundraising more than a year before he had any competition. While Chiang has gradually climbed, Villaraigosa jumped up quickly thanks to many large donations. Republican John Cox has given $3 million to his own campaign.

Note: This chart is limited to contributions for which a date was disclosed.

A north-south divide

Most of Newsom’s money has come from the Bay Area, including $4.6 million from San Francisco, where he served as mayor. Chiang, who lives in Torrance, has raised the most of any candidate in Los Angeles County. While Villaraigosa trails his Democratic counterparts, he has made inroads in the Central Valley.

The spheres of influence

Wall Street bankers, Silicon Valley venture capitalists and other investors are the top backers of candidates, continuing a trend from past elections. But they account for only 10% of the overall money. Here’s how much some noteworthy sectors have spent so far.

Note: The Times categorized contributions based on staff research. Individual donors were classified by their employer and occupation. Organizations that made donations were categorized by their primary business.

Who’s writing the checks?

Here are some of the top donors to each campaign.

Gavin Newsom

Newsom’s donor list includes famous names from all across the state. He also has the most money from small donors, whose identities are not disclosed.

Stewart and Lynda Resnick

Billionaire couple behind Fiji Water and POM Wonderful juice. Have given to both Newsom and Villaraigosa


Marissa Mayer and Zachary Bogue

Former CEO of Yahoo and her husband, a Silicon Valley investor


Peter Thiel

Venture capitalist and PayPal cofounder who supported Republican Donald Trump in 2016 presidential election


George Soros

Chairman of an investment management firm and philanthropist. Leading benefactor of Democratic candidates


Bill Maher

Entertainer and host of HBO’s Real Time, who has encouraged Newsom to run for president in 2020


Laurene Powell Jobs

Widow of Steve Jobs and founder of Emerson Collective, an organization supporting education, immigration reform and social justice


Marshawn Lynch

NFL running back, currently with the Oakland Raiders


John Chiang

Asian Americans have contributed in large quantities to Chiang, who is seeking to become California’s first Asian American governor. Despite having less of his total from the wealthy and small donors, he has still amassed a significant war chest.

Alice and JP Wang

President and CEO of Golden Star Technology


Jackson and Julie Yang

Owners of Seville Classics, a manufacturer and distributer of organizational and storage products


C.C. and Regina Yin

Owners of several dozen McDonald’s restaurants


Christopher Pak

President and CEO of the architectural firm Archeon International Group


Henry Chen

President of Regal Wheel Corp., a distributor of automotive supplies


Wilson Wang

Real estate broker with Atlas Hospitality Group


Eric and Susan Smidt

Chairman and chief executive officer of Harbor Freight Tools, and his wife


Richard Riordan

Former L.A. mayor, who has given to both Chiang and Villaraigosa


Antonio Villaraigosa

Villaraigosa immediately fielded donations from wealthy Angelenos, some of whom supported his runs for mayor. More than 70% of his money has come in donations of $20,000 or more.

Stewart and Lynda Resnick

Billionaire couple behind Fiji Water and POM Wonderful juice. Have given to both Newsom and Villaraigosa


Eli and Edythe L. Broad

Philanthropists in the arts and education


Marc and Jane Nathanson

Chairman of private venture capital firm Mapleton Investments, and his wife, a psychotherapist


Anschutz Entertainment Group

A worldwide presenter of live music, entertainment and sporting events run by Philip Anschutz, a prominent Republican donor and L.A. developer


Reed Hastings

Netflix CEO and supporter of charter schools in Los Angeles


Ryan Seacrest

Radio and television personality


Richard Riordan

Former L.A. mayor, who has given to both Chiang and Villaraigosa


Fabian Nuñez

Former speaker of the California State Assembly


Sources: California Secretary of State, California Civic Data Coalition, Mapzen, Times analysis

About the data: Totals on this page include all contributions made to the candidates’ gubernatorial committees and other groups working on a candidate’s behalf. The records are drawn from two sources: first, periodic disclosure reports filed with the California secretary of state, which cover donations through June 30, 2017; second, reports of donations greater than $5,000 since then, which must be disclosed soon after they are received. This page was originally published May 1, 2017, and it will be updated as the campaign progresses.

Credits: Photo editing by Andrea Roberson, development by Ben Welsh and Andrew Briz, classification algorithm by Anthony Pesce

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