The two leading Democratic candidates for governor have spent months trying
to outline the differences between their candidacies and that of Gov. Arnold
Schwarzenegger. But breaking down their campaign contributions by ZIP code
shows that, although the donors are different, the three candidates are
filling their campaign treasury at many of the same troughs.
Although state Treasurer Phil Angelides has staked his bid for governor on
his image as the anti-Arnold, four of his top six donating ZIP codes are the
same as Schwarzenegger’s. Three of state Controller Steve Westly’s top 10
donating ZIP codes overlap with Schwarzenegger’s top 10, as well.
The only ZIP code that all three candidates share is Downtown Sacramento’s
95814–universally acknowledged as ground zero for the state’s special
For Angelides, a Sacramento native backed by much of the Democratic
establishment, residents and interests in the Capitol’s ZIP have coughed up
$1.08 million–more than double his next highest postal code. For Angelides’
opponent, Steve Westly, Capitol-area donors rank fourth, with $239,285 in
contributions. The 95814 is Schwarzenegger’s top donor postal code, with
businesses and residents in the area giving the governor $689,527.
“It doesn’t surprise me that Sacramento is No. 1,” said Robert Stern,
president of the Center for Governmental Studies. “That’s where the money
is. That’s where the influence is. That’s where the PACs and lobbyists are
All three campaigns also have mobilized aggressive fund-raising efforts in
the quiet neighborhoods of Los Angeles’ Westside, which includes the
affluent towns of Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades, Beverly Hills and
Beverly Hills posh 90210 is the single biggest ZIP code for Westly other
than his own. Beverly Hills denizens have chipped in $260,376 to the
controller’s campaign. The 90210 is Schwarzenegger’s ninth biggest donor
area, giving $186,000, while it ranked fifteenth for Angelides, despite
giving an nearly identical $185,636.
Ned Wigglesworth, an analyst with TheRestofUs.org, a campaign-finance
watchdog group, says that Downtown Sacramento’s vested interests and the
rich residents in areas like Beverly Hills 90210 and are “easy pickings” for
“Political fund raising is an easy cocktail to mix: one part lobbyists, one
part millionaires,” said Wigglesworth. “You can’t spit in Sacramento without
hitting a lobbyist, Beverly Hills is the same for millionaires, so it’s no
surprise that they’re among the top donor ZIP codes.”
All three campaigns also have made fund-raising pit stops in New York City,
a must-see attraction for politicians on the money-seeking circuit. New York
ranks as the fourth biggest donor city for both Angelides and Westly, and
sixth for Schwarzenegger.
Angelides’ New York donations far outpace those of either Westly or
Schwarzenegger. In all, Angelides raised $1.47 million from residents of the
Big Apple including $358,651 from the 10022 ZIP code, Westly’s top donor ZIP
code, as well.
Still, there are major differences between where the two leading Democrats
and Schwarzenegger have collected campaign cash. For starters, Angelides,
facing a multimillionaire self-funding opponent, has mounted a much more
expansive fund-raising campaign.
“There was never any doubt that Westly would put in more than $30 million,”
said Angelides strategist Bob Mulholland, noting that the campaign had taken
in donations in all 58 counties from 23,000 donors. “Angelides has always
been a fighter for his values and knows that in order to feed the grassroots