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Californians to See Large Crop of Ballot Measures, Related Big Campaign Spending in Nov. 8 Election

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Voters make selections on Nov. 3, 2014, in Norwalk. (Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Voters make selections on Nov. 3, 2014, in Norwalk. (Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

In an election year in which Californians, by virtue of the state’s relative insignificance in the presidential campaign and a fairly tepid U.S. Senate race, have been spared the brunt of nonstop politicking, political experts say the storm is coming.

“We’re going to have a deluge of political ads, of all forms,” said Ned Wigglesworth, a Sacramento-based campaign strategist whose firm has done an early projection of what will be spent on statewide ballot measure campaigns this fall.

The bottom line: an initiative season in the Golden State that could see total spending of at least $452 million — and perhaps even hitting half a billion dollars — by the time the final votes are cast.

For months, California’s ballot initiative industry has been watching that so-called perfect political weather system brewing, courtesy of what’s expected to be the biggest crop of statewide measures on a single ballot in more than a decade. To date, eight measures have qualified for the Nov. 8 ballot. Interviews over the past week with campaign consultants who specialize in initiatives say an additional 15 viable measures remain in circulation to gather the voter signatures needed to qualify.

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