(CNN) - The Republicans sparring for their party’s gubernatorial nod in California released dueling ads Wednesday that challenge one another’s conservative credentials.
California State Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner and former eBay CEO Meg Whitman have been engaged in a nasty primary battle that will come to an end on June 8 when Californians go to the polls.
In its latest salvo, Poizner’s camp says Whitman would prolong Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's policies. To make this point, Poizner’s new ad shows an image of Schwarzenegger's face as it morphs into Whitman's.
Rep. Tom McClintock, who endorsed Poizner early last month, also appears in the new ad.
"More spending, more environmental extremism, more bailouts at our expense," McClintock says. "I've watched Steve Poizner fight big government and I trust him. This isn't a close call, there's only one conservative in this race and his name is Steve Poizner."
Whitman’s campaign pushed back at the notion that she would continue the policies of the current governor.
"Strangely the only candidate in this race who has ever likened himself a 'Schwarzenegger Republican' is Steve Poizner," Whitman spokeswoman Sarah Pompei said in a statement.
Accusing Poizner of leading the state into a financial crisis, Whitman's campaign released its own ad Wednesday.
"Steve Poizner says California is heading over a cliff," the ad begins. "Guess who was driving when it happened? Steve Poizner."
The ad accuses Poizner of going on a "spending spree" for new cars and "increas[ing] his department's spending nearly 14 percent."
Whitman’s new ad drew a sharp criticism from Poizner's communications director, Jarrod Agen: "No matter how much Goldman Sachs money Meg Whitman uses to attack Steve, the truth is that he cut his budget by 15 percent," Agen said in a statement.
Both campaigns tell CNN that their ads will air on broadcast and cable television statewide this week.
According to a Field Poll taken last month, Whitman holds a nearly 50 point lead over Poizner, 63 to 14 percent, among likely GOP voters.
I would vote for Whitman if you listen to her politics she sounds just like a conservative democrat. I just have to get past her buying the Governor's Office.
"I'm more conservative than you- No, I'm nmore conservative than you!" This is California- we are moderate to liberal, do they actually think this will work????
This candidate is nothing like Schwarzenegger. She's much, much worse. She makes statements about her goals that she can't possibly back up. For example, she states that she will lay off 40,000 state employees. Where does she get this figure? She pulls it out of thin air. She has done NO research on the topic, and hasn't got a clue what she's talking about. But, there she is stating that she will lay off 40,000 workers. From where? Which departments? Regular hourly workers or management? How will she handle the decrease in services? The questions go on and on, but the answers are frighteningly absent from any of her diatribes.
I think California is smart enough to run from Republicans. They could be in a world of hurt like Arizona. The economic lose to that state will be devastating, much less how mean spirited they are made to be.
BOTH of these Republicans would continue to lead CA towards abysmal failure. Now they are bashing their own party and Arnold as a way to justify the poor performance?
Jerry Brown is a million times better. Judging by the ads, they practically endorse Brown by citing his vast experience as former Governor, Mayor of Oakland and state attorney general. Not to mention nearly pulling off the upset against Clinton in '92.
You are my HERO. when in the US going to smarten up?? you fools are being held hostages by "aliens" i am so sorry for y'all. from calgary, ab
These characters all seem to think that California is for sale. Meg's millions seem poised to buy the governorship. Thankfully, California is a solidly blue state and resents being bought.
Meg also doesn't realize that the legislature doesn't work for her. If they don't do what she wants, there's not much she can do about it. That's a hard lesson that Arnold had to learn (and didn't really).
hopefully they will count each other out and ol Brown will get in. Repos have not been good to calie fornia!!!!
Meg Whitman has an excellent plan for California and that's really what is most important. The mudslinging is not what I want to see though. I mean, calling someone a liberal? That's just nasty. Have a little more respect if only out of human decency.
Just a few years ago the GOP was in love with Arnold. They even thought about amending the Constitution to allow foreign born Americans to run for President.
Neither Whitman and Poizner are fit to lead a parade much less the state of California.