September 29th, 2009
02:09 PM ET
5 years ago

Poizner backer switches his support to Whitman

Meg Whitman is facing off against Steve Poizner and Tom Campbell in the California Republican gubernatorial primary.
Meg Whitman is facing off against Steve Poizner and Tom Campbell in the California Republican gubernatorial primary.

(CNN) – A former GOP official in California is dropping his endorsement of State Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner and will instead support his rival, eBay CEO Meg Whitman, in the state's Republican gubernatorial primary.

Bob Naylor, a former Minority Leader in the California State Assembly and a onetime chairman of the California Republican Party, said Tuesday that Whitman has a better chance of appealing to moderates and Democrats in the 2010 general election - if she can survive the Republican primary gauntlet.

"The party has to be able to attract more independents and minorities and women than we did in the last two election cycles," said Naylor, an attorney who served as state party chairman from 1987 to 1989. "I have to come to believe that she can attract more votes and independents and Democrats than Mr. Poizner. I think her story is more compelling than his."

Naylor told CNN he wrote Poizner a letter informing him of his decision three weeks ago, but never heard back.

Although he said Whitman "has a great story to tell" about her experience creating jobs at eBay, he acknowledged that she may have difficult time surviving the three-way Republican primary, which will pit her against both Poizner and former congressman Tom Campbell. "It's a difficult vetting process for anyone with moderate tendencies," he said.

Naylor said he was disappointed by revelations that Whitman failed to vote over several decades in the five states where she has lived since 1979, but he said it should not disqualify her from running.

"As a person who has been a political activist, it's a little hard for me to relate to that," he said. "I think that she has fully fessed up. She has essentially apologized for it."

Poizner spokesman Jarrod Agen responded by saying Whitman still needs to answer for her voting record.

"Let me do some simple math here, Steve Poizner has eight times more former GOP chairs endorsing his campaign than the Whitman campaign has," Agen said. "This is a thinly veiled attempt to shift focus away from the fact that Meg Whitman did not vote for 28 years and will not answer direct questions as to why not."


Filed under: California • Meg Whitman • Steve Poizner
soundoff (43 Responses)
  1. Lisa in Shelton

    CEOs and Actors may not be the solution or leadership that California needs. In the wake of the previous Governor and budget shortfalls, I think the GOP's future is doomed in CA and in the USA.

    September 29, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  2. Roger in CA

    How "compelling" can she be as a politician, if she couldn't be bothered even to register to vote until she was 46 years old?!??

    September 29, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  3. Jay T.

    Who cares? A Democrat will win anyway. This is like worrying over who will get the Democratic nomination in Utah. Waste of time.

    September 29, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  4. John from California

    Who cares if Bob Naylor is supporting Meg (the millionaire supporter) Whitman?

    Meg Whitman is a rich member of an outdated minority party that will use her millions and the conservative republican media to try to convince the rest of us Californians that we should vote against our own best interests to support her.

    Let's be clear, Meg and the Republicans care only about the RICH Millionaires and Billionaires.

    September 29, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  5. KATHLEEN

    One question. Would she vote for the public option?????
    If not, we need a "real" democrat who would!!!!

    September 29, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  6. Vets4Obama

    No news here. Republicans only do two things: Flip-flop and complain.

    September 29, 2009 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  7. Frank

    Is he aware that she hasn't voted for 28 years?

    Why do business people think that they can ignore public affairs for an entire lifetime and them be handed public office on a silver platter?

    What arrogance!

    September 29, 2009 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  8. I can see Canada from my house!

    Poizner's spokesman has a point: Naylor's endorsement means little. Primaries are won by party activists, and a badly-constructed candidate cannot paper over the problems the GOP has painted itself into here. They have led the charge against immigrants, especially those groups that now form the fastest-growing voting blocs, and simply throwing a political novice into the mix and expecting her to appeal to primary voters is a fantasy at best and political suicide at worst.

    September 29, 2009 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  9. Pat Dunedin Fl

    I guess he likes people who don't vote and that are poor examples.
    Whitman needs a facial makeover her mouth is hidious and
    so is what she spews out of it. Heaven help the poor she is
    a let them eat cake person!

    September 29, 2009 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  10. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    What a waste of journalistic talent. Whitman or Fiorina won't win.

    September 29, 2009 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  11. Dennis from Tennessee

    this is what is wrong in our country. A political party that is not interested in fixing the many problems we have, but is only interested in returning to power, with only less than one year into Obama's first term. Get with it Republicans, we want our problems fixed now.

    September 29, 2009 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  12. Candice P.

    Meg Whitman will be a tremendous governor here in the Golden State!

    September 29, 2009 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  13. Liberal4Obama

    Republican Meg Whitman needs to buy a copy of "VOTING 4 DUMMIES"

    September 29, 2009 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  14. Northwest

    Glad we don't have her in our state so Ca vote her out and you won't have to either she is the party of NOT

    September 29, 2009 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  15. Operation Replacement

    Meg Whitman is trying to buy not earn the nomination. She should drop out and run for Lt. Gov. Her not having voted will be something
    which the Democrats are eager to use.

    September 29, 2009 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  16. jinxie

    Ladies and Gentlemen, the next Governor of California.
    Guaranteed by Wild Bill Clinton backing Whatisname.

    September 29, 2009 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  17. Jim in San Mateo

    Gee, a Republican got a clue. Won't help though because thousands more don't have one. They will put Pozner up for Govenore and he will lose.

    September 29, 2009 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  18. KATHLEEN

    WE don't need more rich Republicans to run our country. Thank you!

    Can she just retire with all her money?

    September 29, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
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