Independent expenditures in California statewide and legislative races have more than doubled in the past week, with reported spending by dentists, teachers and dozens of other groups exceeding $11.4 million as of Tuesday evening. The total stood at about $5.5 million a week ago.
Almost half of the increase reflects a $2.7 million infusion into the race for state superintendent of public instruction by the California Teachers Association. With three weeks until the June 3 primary, a CTA committee supporting incumbent Tom Torlakson reported Tuesday spending $1.36 million on radio ads to support Torlakson and $1.36 million on ads opposing his main rival, Marshall Tuck.
In other statewide contests, the largest union representing state workers, SEIU Local 1000, reported spending $50,000 on radio ads to help former Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez in his race for state controller.
And in legislative contests, the primary fight in the Sacramento-area 6th Senate District exceeds $479,000 in independent spending. All of the money is either in support of Assemblyman Richard Pan, D-Sacramento, or opposing his Democratic rival, Assemblyman Roger Dickinson, D-Sacramento. The district is one of seven where reported independent spending tops $400,000, including almost $2.8 million in the Bay Area's 16th Assembly District.
Independent spending on Pan's behalf is coming mostly from unions — the California Faculty Association and the California State Council Of Service Employees — and a group that includes doctors, dentists and Realtors.
The charts show the contests with the most independent expenditure activity as of Tuesday evening and the main sources of the money (hover over the charts for more information).
PHOTO: State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, urges legislators to support the tax extension proposed by Gov. Jerry Brown. on March 14, 2011. The Sacramento Bee/Randy Pench