How much will it cost?

By the close the gap CA Team breaking the bank

One of the most common questions we hear and one of the tougher ones to answer has to do with money.

  • How much does it cost to run a winning campaign for office?
  • How much of that will a serious candidate have to raise on her own?

A good rule of thumb is that a candidate will have to raise $100,000 to be considered a serious contender for the California Legislature. Beyond that, the exact amount depends on the district, the level of competition, your allies, your political party backing and how much you are comfortable having independent expenditures dominate voter communication.

A strong candidate doesn’t need to raise all the funds herself. The Leadership in either the State Senate or Assembly can weigh in for a Party-endorsed candidate and provide significant funding, either directly raising money into your coffers or by mailing through the Party for you.

In terms of numbers, the average amount raised in the 2012 election cycle was an eye-popping $708,371 for an Assembly campaign, according to Maplight, a Berkeley-based nonpartisan research organization.  Yet consider the following wide ranges. Assemblymember Steve Fox raised the least in the last cycle among his winning peers  – $21,142, while Assemblymember Ken Cooley raised the most – $4.1 million.

The average for a State Senate campaign: more than $1 million. However, the range varied from $259,147 raised by Steve Knight to more than $3 million raised by Richard Roth.



National Institute on Money in State Politics
Look up a district and research which groups have made contributions

Around the Capitol 2014
Subscribers of Around the Capitol can learn the amount of campaign funds raised in each district this election cycle

Data: MapLight analysis of campaign contributions to members of the California State Assembly and Senate elected in 2012, from January 1, 2011 to December 31, 2012. Source: California Secretary of State and Rosie Cima, AP.

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