On politics in the Golden State

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Open primary campaign in the red

March 25, 2010 | 11:52 am

The campaign to pass Proposition 14 -- the June measure backed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger that would change the state's system for electing state lawmakers -- is broke, with $90,000 more in unpaid bills than cash-on-hand, according to the latest campaign spending reports.

But backers of the measure said they are unfazed. “This is the way campaigns work,” said Yes on 14 spokeswoman Amanda Fulkerson. “We know what’s coming in. We know what’s going out.”

Adam Mendelsohn, the governor’s political adviser, said Schwarzenegger began fundraising for the measure last week and is “about to make a very sizable contribution.” Mendelsohn said that in a week of fundraising calls, the governor had secured “several million dollars in commitments.” Schwarzenegger also has more than $600,000 in his own political account, money that could legally be transferred to the open primary campaign.

Proposition 14 would allow the top two vote-getters in each state primary contest to advance to the general election. Presidential elections would not be included in the new system.

-- Shane Goldmacher in Sacramento