Most of CA Campaign Giving Went To Out-Of-State & Presidential Candidates

Records obtained by NBC 7 Investigates show nearly 70 percent of California's campaign giving went to out-of-state or presidential candidates, according to data from the Federal Election Commission (FEC).

This election cycle several San Diegans have participated in that giving, the FEC data shows, including:

  • San Diego developer Doug Manchester and his wife, Geniya, have donated nearly $1 million to committees and presidential candidates, most recently Donald Trump.
  • San Diego Real Estate moguls, Lawrence and Suzanne Hess, gave more than $350,000; $43,000 of that to key Democratic Senate races outside California.
  • La Jolla businessman Robert Price and his wife Allison, gave nearly $100,000; $60,000 of that also to Democratic Senate races outside California, including $33,000 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

The money from the Hess', Price's, and other top California donors are funding nine toss-up U.S. Senate races in Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

Click here to read more on how Super Pacs are pouring millions into these campaigns. 

“What the national government does affects all of us,” Daniel Newman, co-founder and CEO of, a non-partisan group that tracks campaign money said.

“Right now the control of the Senate is up for grabs…Whether it's Republican or Democratic control (they) have a big effect on everyone in the country including the wealthy groups that are finding these campaigns,” he said. “If you're going to write a large check to someone you support them in their policies and their policies are ones that you support as well so what this means is that the people that tend to have the resources to get elected favor the interest of the wealthiest individuals and interest groups.”

Click here to see the top 10 biggest Super Pac Spenders

This campaign cycle, federal election records show, donors in San Diego and Imperial counties have given $22 million to federal candidates and committees. A slim percentage compared to the $203 million from Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties and the $223 million coming from the in the Bay Area.

“San Diego has always been the smallest pond being the smallest of these big cities, with L.A., San Francisco neck and neck in their campaign contributions,” Thad Kousser, the Political Science Department Chair at University of California, San Diego said.

The reason, according to him is that San Diego doesn't have as much money.

“We don't have the big companies, the Fortune 500 companies that lead to the CEOs and all those vice presidents who know their company has a stake in government,” he said.

NBC 7 Investigates contacted the major local donors mentioned in this story. The Manchester’s and the Hess' did not return calls and e-mails to their businesses. Robert Price said he did not want to comment.

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