Chris Kelly dumps $2 million into AG bid

Seven-figure self-funding isn’t just for gubernatorial candidates anymore: Former Facebook Chief Privacy Officer Chris Kelly announced today he’s sinking $2 million of his personal fortune into his campaign for California Attorney General.

Kelly, a Democrat from Palo Alto, faces San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris; Assembly Majority Leader Alberto Torrico, D-Newark; Assemblyman Ted Lieu, D-Torrance; Assemblyman Pedro Nava, D-Santa Barbara; and former Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo in June’s Democratic primary, while state Sen. Tom Harman, R-Huntington Beach, is the lone declared GOP candidate.

“I am running for Attorney General to bring my experience in law, public policy and business to find innovative ways to make California safer – reducing crime and reforming our broken government. California voters are ready for a new voice to take on California’s toughest problems,” Kelly said in a news release. “The contribution I have made to my campaign will enable us to build a dialog with Californians across this state about crime, consumer protection, and government reform issues that matter most to them.”

The investment is the only possible way for Kelly’s campaign to remain viable; since the start of 2009, he’d collected only $102,500 in big-ticket ($5000 and up) contributions, far behind most of his Democratic competitors. In November and December alone, Harris raised almost $119,000 worth of big-ticket contributions while Torrico raised about $116,500.

UPDATE @ 3:10 P.M.: This just in from Torrico campaign consultant Eric Jaye: “Alberto Torrico is proud to have earned the support of the state’s largest public safety organizations, including the Peace Officers Research Association of California representing more than 62,000 public safety personnel and the California Professional Firefighters, representing more than 32,000 first responders. Torrico has earned the support of dozens of other organizations representing public safety personnel throughout California. We’ll take the support of 100,000 of California’s finest over the checkbook of any millionaire.”

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.