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20110218_FORUM_0109 Beth Gaines.JPGA conservative, Christian philanthropist has poured $75,000 into a new round of mail pieces and radio advertisements backing Republican Beth Gaines in the 4th Assembly District.

California Taxpayers Advocate, an independent expenditure committee with a history of supporting Republican candidates, has reported spending nearly $32,000 on campaign literature and $35,000 on radio advertisements in advance of next Tuesday's special primary, according to campaign finance filings on the secretary of state's website.

The expenditures were financed by a $75,000 contribution to the committee (listed on the second page of the report) from Fieldstead & Co., which manages the assets of the family of Howard F. Ahmanson Jr., an Orange County millionaire known for funding conservative political and religious causes. Ahmanson, a conservative Democrat, told The Bee's Dan Morain last month that he voted for Meg Whitman for governor.

Independent expenditure committees can raise and spend unlimited funds to support or oppose candidates as long as they are not coordinated with the campaign.

Gaines is one of eight candidates running for the seat vacated by her husband Ted Gaines' election to the state Senate. If no candidate wins more than 50 percent of the vote on Tuesday, the top two vote-getters advance to a runoff May 3.

PHOTO CREDIT: Candidate Beth Gaines talks during the Republican Congress of Placer County candidates forum held at the Loomis Veterans Memorial Hall on Friday Feb. 18, 2011. Special to the Sacramento Bee/ Brian Baer



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