Anti-Whitman money starts to pour in

California Working Families for Jerry Brown for Governor reported raising a goodly portion of the $12.5 million it has in pledged donations late Thursday as the labor-backed group gears up for an expensive fall campaign with the likely Republican gubernatorial nominee, Meg Whitman, the billionaire ex-CEO of eBay.

Six labor organizations poured in $4,453,017,  including $2 million from the California State Council of Service Employees.

Professional firefighters added $1,067,470, while Building & Construction Trades Council ($800,000), the California Federation of Teachers, American Federation of Teachers, AFL-CIO COPE (Committee on Political Education) ($250,000), iron workers ($100,000), professional scientists ($25,000), and professional engineers ($25,000) all showed what the power of a common cause can inspire.

With $190,000 spent — $148,000 in payments to David Binder Research for polling — the group has a little more than $4.2 million cash on hand.

Roger Salazar, spokesman for the group, said earlier this week that the independent expenditure committee plans on taking it to Whitman on the day after the June 8 primary. Whitman, who has spent more than $80 million in the primary, is expected to pivot quickly onto her next target, Brown, with a massive onslaught of advertising to get a jump on the early definition game.

Brown has raised $20 million but is expected to hold onto his resources until the fall with hopes that independent groups such as Working Families will step into the fray during the quiet summer months to ensure Whitman doesn’t have the airwaves to herself.

Though the labor money will be significant, the Working Families’ effort won’t seriously take off until wealthy individual donors like billionaire Democrat Ron Burkle, who is said to be a big potential backer, begins to pour in some of his cash.

Steven Harmon