State House and Local Office Campaigns

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Contribution to Books

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Within the general populace, there is the perception that even campaigns for state and local offices are so expensive that all candidates for such offices must be independently wealthy. This perception is clearly illustrated by the experience of Rev. Madison Shockley, a recent candidate for the Los Angeles City Council. As Shockley explains, "My son went to elementary school each day, came back telling me 'dad, everyone thinks we're rich.' I said, why in the world would they think that? 'Because you're running for office.' There is this impression that you have to be personally wealthy to be involved in politics. and, surprising to me, that's not true. I'm certainly not personally wealthy, but I was able to raise money from people who believed and shared in my cause in order to get the ball rolling in the political campaign."1

Although candidates for state and local offices do not have to be personally wealthy, it certainly costs a lot of money to a competitive campaign in a big city such as Los Angeles. The same is true for a state legislative race in California, where Assembly races can easily cost $500,000 and Senate races might top $1 million. But these are exceptions, not the rule.

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