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Record $466 million spent on California ballot measures

FILE - In this Nov. 7, 2016, file photo, Proposition 61 backers attend a rally supporting the proposition in downtown Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Nick Ut, File)

Campaign committees raised a record $466 million to influence proposals on the 2016 ballot in California from legalizing marijuana to limiting prescription drug prices, according to an Associated Press analysis of campaign finance documents.

The tally for more than 80 committees supporting or opposing 17 measures on the state's November ballot surpassed the previous record of $438 million raised for ballot proposals in 2008.

Campaign finance reports submitted this week also provided an early glimpse at fundraising for the 2018 governor's race, with Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, state Treasurer John Chiang and former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa reporting seven-figure hauls.

The filings provide the most detailed look yet at the financial activity behind measures on the 2016 ballot, which legalized recreational pot smoking, extended an income tax levy on wealthy Californians and imposed new state gun controls.

The largest amount was amassed by the campaign that worked to defeat Proposition 61, a proposal to lower prescription drug prices.

Pharmaceutical companies spent more than $109 million in their successful effort to defeat the measure, which garnered 46 percent of the vote. It would have limited California agencies from spending more on prescription drugs than the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, an attempt to curb rising drug costs.

Tobacco companies financed the second largest campaign, spending nearly $71 million against Proposition 56, a proposed $2-per-pack cigarette tax. Voters approved Proposition 56 with nearly 64 percent of the vote.

Supporters of Proposition 64, which legalized the recreational use of cannabis, took in $14.2 million, while opponents raised $1.6 million.

In the governor's race, Newsom and fellow Democrat Chiang reported about $4.2 million in 2016 contributions, bringing their cash-on-hand totals to $11.6 million and $7.1 million, respectively. Their cash totals include money left over from previous campaigns.

Villaraigosa, a former state Assembly speaker and also a Democrat, reported nearly $2.7 million in 2016 donations and ended the year with $2.6 million in the bank, the records showed.

The Associated Press analysis counted only funds raised for state ballot proposals, since some committees funneled dollars to local measures and campaigns outside California.

In cases where committees raised money to influence more than one statewide measure, those funds were counted only once to avoid duplication. The analysis does not count money transferred from one ballot measure committee to another toward the total.

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