(CNN) – The war for California's Republican gubernatorial nomination keeps getting hotter.
With less than two months to go until the primary, State Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner has put out a tough new television commercial critical of his opponent, former eBay CEO Meg Whitman.
The ad's narrator says that Whitman "supports taxpayer funding for abortion. Do you? Whitman campaigned and contributed to Barbara Boxer. Did you? Whitman campaigned for the disastrous bailout that saved Goldman Sachs. Did you? Whitman supports the Obama amnesty plan for illegal immigrants. Did you?"
Tucker Bounds, the Whitman campaign's spokesman, responded to the ad in comments to CNN.
"The question we all know the answer to is: Why did he? Why did Steve Poizner work to undermine Proposition 13, supporting $40 billion in higher taxes? Why did Steve Poizner contribute $21,000 to elect Al Gore and overturn the legal election of George W. Bush? Why is Steve Poizner the only candidate in the race to have ever supported partial birth abortion? Why did Steve Poizner spend over $2,000,000 on new cars at the Department of Insurance during an economic downturn? Because Steve Poizner is a liberal you can't trust," Bounds said.
Whitman, a billionaire who advised Sen. John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign, has contributed $59 million of her own money to her bid for governor, and she says she could donate up to $150 million overall. She has used a big chuck of the money to pay for a multi-million dollar television media campaign across the Golden State.
And the big spending may be paying off. A Los Angeles Times/University of Southern California poll conducted late last month suggests that Whitman's commercials have helped erase her once unknown status in California.
"Poizner is fighting money with message – by trying to hit hard with ads aimed at conservative Republican primary voters," says Evan Tracey, president of Campaign Media Analysis Group and CNN's consultant on political advertising. "Negative ads can be very effective with the one cost being they tend to drive up negatives for both the candidate that airs them and the candidate they are aimed towards."
So where does the race between Whitman and Poizner stand? According to the Los Angeles Times/USC survey, Whitman leads by 40 points among Republican primary voters.
Two other nonpartisan polls also conducted in March, by the Public Policy Institute of California and by the Field Poll, indicate Whitman holding around a 50 point advantage over Poizner.
Updated at 4:15 p.m. ET: The Poizner campaign reached out to CNN with response to the statement by Tucker Bounds.
"Meg Whitman's candidacy was always like one of those French soufflés one of her private chefs would cook up on her private jet - full of expensive air and destined to deflate," says Poizner campaign communications director Jarrod Agen. "All of Meg's Goldman Sachs riches can't convince California Republicans that we need a Barbara Boxer supporter as our nominee. The numbers are moving as we expected, which means in this year's general election Republicans will finally get a chance to vote for a Republican for Governor."
–Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn
The Republicans in California are getting out of control with their primary fighting. Everything from demon sheep to accusations of promotion of Al Gore or lies about using tax $ for abortions. I hope CA is smart enough to not support ANY of these stooges especially after the disaster of having Arnold in Sacramento and the head of HP getting fired. We don't need another billionaire elitist running the govt.
This has been the most entertaining primary ever!
Some liberal is going to post how the GOP is feeding upon itself. That unfortunate individual will just need to be reminded to look east to Pa. Sestak and Spector aren't exacltly having brunch. To the uninformed, this is a little something we like to call POLITICS! McCain v Bush (2000), Clinton v Obama (2008) are but 2 examples!
It would be better for Californians to vote against anyone who would hire lying Tucker Bounds.
Well, it is pretty clear to Californians by now that Prop 13 was a loser from the start. The state is literally falling apart at the seams. No one wants to pay for anything, they all insist on unimaginably high levels of purity in water, air, politicians, teachers, universities, farms....without paying the piper.
Sounds like Poizner was on the correct side of that huge budget mess, before it became the nightmare it is today.
I'm from California and I LOVE both commercials – the way they're tearing at each other to see who's more Republican. Make it easier for Brown this Nov.
I wouldn't vote for either of them if they were the only two candidates.
The subject of trust seems to be an odd thing for a Republican to mention. We "trusted" Bushy and Dicky about the WMD in Iraq.
Did we find any? NO! We trusted the Republicans to come up with an Exit Strategy from Iraq. Did they? NO! We trusted Republicans to come up with a Funding of the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Did they? NO!
Some fools trusted Palin, Sen. Bachmann, and sundry Republican leaders(?) when they tried to frighten older people about "Death Panels". Were there any Death Panels? NO! Never were, never intended to be.
Trust Republicans? Are you kidding?
Its hilarious that Meg Whitman would complain about anyone's spending when she spends money on her political ads like George Bush on unpaid wars and tax cuts for the rich. Prop 13 needs to be repealed so that everyone in California pays their fair share of property taxes...this is one of the major reasons the state is broke!
this is a case of two bad rino's running against an even Worse demorap candidate in Jerry 'moonbeam' Brown...we in California lose no matter what.
If you thought Schwarzenegger was a bad governor, Whitman would be even worse!
I think it's pretty ridiculous how much these two candidates are attacking each other for being liberal...in a pretty liberal state. I'm a Californian who considers myself to be a left leaning centrist.
I was considering voting for one of these candidates, but I don't know if I can vote for either of them when Whitman has had commericals slamming Poizner for not supporting prop 8 banning gay marriage (yes, I belive in equal rights for consenting adults) and I don't know that I can vote for Poizner for criticizing Whitman for supporting tax payer funded abortions (which I'm sure can't be true) and going on to say this is a crippling cost of Obamacare (the healthcare policy that has not even been fully enacted yet...so that is clearly a lie). And both of them criticize the other for being like Obama (is that a bad thing in California?). Worst of all is Whitman criticizing Poizner for trying to preventing George W. from becoming president...if anything I think that would be a positive, especially in California.
This all might help them win the Repub primary, but I don't see how they can keep this hard right wing rhetoric and win the end race. Such a shame.
You gotta love it when Republicans turn their deceitful hate machines on each other for a change....a little of their own medicine I'd say....
And both these clowns want to govern California? We are just finishingf up 6 years of a joke governor....looking for somebody with some substance now....
Meg Whitman would be bad for California. She has a long standing record of outsourcing American jobs from the Silicon valley to India. Her main idea is to reinforce tax cuts for Coporations and cut spending/services for the middle class while implementing decreasing revenues as their incomes continue to dwindle. She's just another Republican with the same failing Scwarzenneger perscription for rising budget deficits only affecting middle class incomes.
Jerry Brown is the only logical choice to fix our deficit....
They are both losers!
I never thought i would vote for moon beam brown again but the other two bozos look like spoiled little rich brates
I would like to have heard Mr. Bounds respond directly to the allegations raised in Poizner's ad. Is there some reason he chose not too? Perhaps they are true? That, frankly is my conclusion.
Does she support taxpayer funding for abortion?
Did she campaign for and contribute to Barbara Boxer?
Did she campaigne for the disastrous bailout that saved Goldman Sachs?
Does Whitman support the Obama amnesty plan for illegal immigrants?
Yes...YES....let the hate flow thru you young padawans....consume each other with your fear and anger...use the farce....
I say CA should elect someone that everyone calls "Moonbeam" just to make the GOPers' heads explode.
I think it is pretty funny how they both attack each other, about being to liberal, or spending to much money. Either one of them would be good for California right now. I say let them spend there money hopefully run out, and go away forever. I am NOT voting for either one of them.