From CNN Website, 29 October 2002

Wealthy candidates spend big in races
Deep pockets don't guarantee success


WASHINGTON (AP) --In Texas, banker Tony Sanchez has spent $60 million of his own money on his Democratic campaign for governor. Billionaire businessman Thomas Golisano has kicked in more than $50 million from his personal fortune in New York's gubernatorial race, hoping to make history by winning as a third-party candidate.

Across the country, wealthy candidates are pouring millions into campaigns this fall, often in uphill efforts to win public office.

Sanchez's millions have already made the Texas governor's race the highest-spending contest in state history. In all, his campaign has spent more than $64 million on the bid to unseat Republican Gov. Rick Perry, nearly three times Perry's $23 million.

And it's not over yet.

"We'll spend what it takes to get Rick Perry out of office," Sanchez spokeswoman Becky Bunn said.

A poll by The Dallas Morning News published this week showed Perry with a double-digit lead.

In New York, Independence Party candidate Golisano has spent at least $54 million so far on his third campaign for governor. With almost unlimited cash to tap in the campaign's final days, Golisano has moved closer to Democrat H. Carl McCall for second place.

Despite Republican Gov. George Pataki's wide lead in the polls -- Pataki came in at 47 percent compared with 31 percent for McCall and 18 percent for Golisano in one recent survey -- Pataki has taken Golisano's campaign seriously enough to start airing ads criticizing him.

While it's uncertain whether any of the self-funded candidates will win this year, the 2000 election sent at least three to the Senate.

They included Washington Democrat Maria Cantwell, who tapped her high-tech fortune; re-elected Wisconsin Sen. Herb Kohl, a Democrat and owner of the Milwaukee Bucks, and New Jersey Democrat Jon Corzine, a former Wall Street investment banker who spent more than $60 million of his own money on his race in the most expensive Senate contest ever.

A new campaign finance law taking effect after the Nov. 5 election offers help to candidates trying to keep pace with wealthy rivals. The law's "millionaire amendment" increases contribution limits for House and Senate candidates once self-financed opponents hit a certain spending threshold.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg set the record for the most expensive non-presidential race ever. The Republican and billionaire media magnate spent about $73 million of his own money to win the mayor's seat last year.

While Sanchez and Golisano are the only self-financed candidates coming within range of that this election, they are far from the only candidates using their personal fortunes.

More than a dozen others running for governor or Congress have committed $1 million or more to their campaigns, either in donations or in campaign loans they have made or backed. They run from the established to the upstart:

In Massachusetts, Republican Mitt Romney, the former Winter Olympics chief, has dedicated at least $4.6 million in personal donations and loans to his gubernatorial campaign.

Former New Jersey Sen. Frank Lautenberg, a multimillionaire businessman, has committed at least $1 million in recent days to get his campaign off the ground after replacing Sen. Bob Torricelli as the Democratic candidate.

His opponent, Republican and multimillionaire businessman Doug Forrester, has financed most of his own campaign, lending it more than $7 million.

West Virginia businessman Jim Humphreys, a Democrat, has loaned his House campaign at least $5.7 million of the roughly $6 million it has spent, moving his race against Republican Rep. Shelley Moore Capito within range of overtaking 2000's most expensive House race, an $11.1 million California contest. Capito's campaign has spent more than $2.2 million.

In California, businessman Bill Simon recently disclosed he will kick another $1.2 million in personal loans to his campaign for governor. Despite Simon's infusion of personal cash, Democratic Gov. Gray Davis, a prolific fund-raiser, had far more to spend, $12 million, in the final days before the election.

Simon adviser Sal Russo said he counseled Simon against covering all the campaign costs himself. Simon has put in about a third of the $30 million his campaign has spent so far, raising the rest from donors.

"One of the problems with self-financing is you don't focus on building the team in a campaign, so the campaign lacks the requisite enthusiasm, excitement, sense of belonging that they have when you're out soliciting contributors and supporters," Russo said. "I think it handicaps a campaign."