New in CW 08.10.06
|Legislators tap Sacramento interests for campaign cash|
State lawmakers returned to the Capitol this week to finish off the legislative year, but legislating isn't the only task they'll be up to in August. For just about everybody, it's time to renew a classic Sacramento pastime: raising big-time campaign cash.
This month, there are more than 100 fund-raisers scheduled for almost every would-be and current lawmaker in the state, according to invitations obtained by Capitol Weekly.
"Sometimes there are 15 of these in a day," complains one veteran lobbyist, who notes that the glut of events is nothing new. "For the month of August, we don't see our family and, for some, access to a private life is suspended. Under the current system, they have to ask, and we have to contribute."
The rush of events coincides--not coincidentally--with a three-week sprint in which the Legislature will decide of the fate of more than 1,500 bills, from building new prisons to curbing greenhouse-gas emissions.
With few hot races, Nickel looks for infusion of party cash
Meet Wiley Nickel. Last year, his family donated $250 to his political rival. His former boss recently resigned amid state investigations. And his television ads in the primary were pilloried by ad watchers as the worst of the year.
But despite his campaign's inauspicious beginning, Nickel may be California Democrats' best chance to pick up a seat in the state Senate. In the world of California's gerrymandered legislative districts, where seven of the 153 legislative races--and only two of the 20 Senate seats--this November are considered even remotely competitive, Nickel looks like a likely recipient of statewide cash--perhaps on the order of millions of dollars.
"The race is high on the pecking order because it is one of two seats we are going to be concentrating on," says Art Torres, chairman of the California Democratic Party.