Meg Whitman's Spending Hits $99.7 million
by Charles Lemos, Tue Aug 03, 2010 at 02:16:56 AM EDT
Safe to say that at the rate billionaire Republican Meg Whitman is going, she'll top the $150 million spending mark before the first Tuesday in November. That's because the former eBay CEO's spending hit $531,378 a day during her successful effort to win the GOP nomination for Governor in California. The Whitman campaign reported Monday that it had spent nearly $20 million in the six-week period ending June 30, which included the weeks immediately before and after California's primary. Her campaign said the first-time candidate and occasional voter spent $71 million to win the GOP primary against state Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner.
Of the near $100 million, $91 million has come from Whitman's own pockets. Meanwhile, the Jerry Brown campaign has spend a little more than $633,000 total since January 1. Whitman has outspend Brown by an outrageous 150 to 1.
Despite Whitman's spending, a poll released last week by the Public Policy Institute of California found the candidates about even among likely voters, with 37 percent backing Brown and 34 percent favoring Whitman. A quarter of respondents were still undecided. Whitman is seen unfavorably by 50 percent of voters and favorably by 30 percent, with 20 percent not sure. Opinion is more divided on Brown, with 43 percent viewing him unfavorably while 41 percent regard him favorably, with 16 percent unsure.
Brown has $23 million cash on hand, while Whitman has about $10.3 million but Whitman is aggressively tapping her billionaire friends. Among those giving to the Whitman campaign are Berkshire Hathaway executive Charles Munger Jr., who gave Whitman the maximum $25,900 contribution; Spanish-language television magnate Jerry Perenchio and his wife, Margaret, who each gave $25,900; Los Angeles philanthropist Eli Broad, who gave $25,900; and Barron Hilton, chairman of the Hilton Hotels empire, who gave $20,000. Even so, Whitman's TV ad buys in the last week of July ran $2.3 million.