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Bing Takes to the Ballot

Producer Stephen Bing chipped in about $50 million of his own money last year to try to pass an environmental initiative that would have placed a tax on oil companies, but the measure failed.

He’s once again stepping up, this time to defeat a threatened initiative on next June’s ballot that would change the way the state picks its presidential electors. He and hedge fund manager Tom Steyer are uniting in a campaign to defeat the proposal, with the committee supported by some of the state’s top Democrats.

The initiative is backed by Thomas Hiltachk, a lawyer for the state Republican party, via a group called Californians for Equal Representation. Instead of the winner of the state’s popular vote gaining all of the state’s 55 electors, the electors would be distributed to candidates based on who won each congressional district. So in 2004, instead of John Kerry getting all 55 of the state’s electoral votes, he would have gotten just 33.

“If this change is made, it will virtually guarantee that a Republican wins the White House in 2008,” Chris Lehane, a longtime Democratic political operative in California who was a top adviser to Al Gore in the contested 2000 presidential election, told Cox News Service.
Bing and Steyer will head a new political action committee called Californians for Fair Election Reform to counter the initiative. Chances are it will be well funded.

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