September 29th, 2009
02:09 PM ET
10 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. Jacob

    No Republican for California in 2010!

    September 29, 2009 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  2. GOP has done enough damage in California

    the state is in complete shambles

    do not elect any more GOP to lead this state

    September 29, 2009 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  3. joel palmer

    It doesn't matter a whit, man. No republican is going to win after arnold's lack luster perfromance. the voters caught on real quick that thwe governor can't do much and their not going elect any more gop candidates while the memory of Bush and Cheney is still fresh.

    Smells like sulfur!!

    September 29, 2009 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  4. SLM

    Unfortunately it doesn't really matter. California is such a blue gimme state are we are over burdened with Illegals, welfare and drug addicts to support on the freebie band wagon and no Democrat wants to make real decisions to balance the budget. They only know how to tax and spend and tax some more. California is bankrupt from years of Democratic control and this trend won't end any time soon. Can't wait to leave and they can have one less tax payer supporting the craziness.

    September 29, 2009 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  5. Alfred E. Neumann

    Only in America – Whitman has no need to vote but now wants me to vote for her for governor.

    I don't think so!

    September 29, 2009 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  6. Enough

    Waiting for all the She didn't vote responses......Who cares? Obama voted "present" and he still won the presidency, even if he never had an opinion on anything but raising taxes. Obama never met a tax he didn't like.

    September 29, 2009 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  7. cspurgeon

    Not as long as you have those right wing nuts...I am strictly a centrist Independent and the Republican wackos will not appeal to me any time soon.

    September 29, 2009 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  8. rr

    California hasn't had a conservative governor in many years, and that's they it should be.

    California didn't get where it is today with fiscal conservatism and businesslike beliefs and views.

    If California is to continue on the same path, it will need another big spending liberal like Newsome or Brown.

    California doesn't need change. California doesn't need a conservative!

    September 29, 2009 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  9. JR

    As long as she is a rep. she doesn't stand a chance

    September 29, 2009 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  10. Allan

    Meg is a joke. Doesn't even vote. CA, don't waste your vote on a woman who can't be bothered to turn out at the polls or take advantage of CA's super-easy permanent absentee ballot by mail process.

    September 29, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  11. MartyinLA

    According to an LA TImes article, Meg didn't bother registering to vote until she was in her mid-40's and even then hardly ever voted. So why the sudden interest in politics in a state that is nearly impossible to govern? Where has she been???

    September 29, 2009 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  12. Chris - Seattle

    Speaking of vetting and attracting minorities & independents votes, I would think that the appropriate thing for her to do would be to drop out! Especially since most are already saying why vote for someone that doesn't vote? Providing jobs in a corporate environment doesn't equate to being able to do the same for an entire state with huge budget deficits. I think Whitman has seen two women in the highest political arena (Clinton & Palin) of the land and now a black President and she's thinking about how easy it would be for her now-a-days to try hre hand at it. That, to me, says she's in it for herself, especially since she obviously doesn't follow one of the most basic rights Americans! I guess a good question that could be in her favor would be, does she know what it was that she didn't/wasn't voting for? If she could articulate that to America, without some sort of wool-job rhetoric, then she might stand an ice cubes chance in hades!

    September 29, 2009 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  13. Terry from West Texas

    The last thing America needs is another Conservative senator to gum up the works and throw wrenches in the gears. Like other Conservervative senators, she will block, stall, delay, prevent, obscure, exaggerate, minimize, attack, and otherwise prevent the nation from solving its problems.

    Conservatism is one of the most destructive forces in our country.

    September 29, 2009 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  14. Damien

    Whitman – another rich person looking to protect wealth. Not voting her entire life? What an amazing joke.

    September 29, 2009 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  15. Wise Latina

    Can I go on EBay to sell my vote? Just wondering....

    September 29, 2009 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  16. bb

    Let's hope so!

    September 29, 2009 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  17. Dan

    Dear Meg,

    Why did you wait to register to vote until you were 46? Do you care about the people or just your purse?

    September 29, 2009 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  18. Amazing

    She'll never make it, she wants to balance the budget and cut out some of the pork spending. California is full of free loaders, illegals, environmentalist wackos and Union control. We are bankrupt for a reason and Democrats ONLY solution ever is to tax some more. Businesses that can, leave this state. We've got Pelosi, Boxer and Feinstein sinking the ship. Unemployed farmers with dry fields and in food lines because Feinstein turned off their water over a fish. This state lacks common sense and anyone with it can't possibly win.

    September 29, 2009 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  19. Douglas Stoddard

    I don't know what world these people are living in but in my world, we are much happier with our new president than with the miserable leadership we had under George Bush for 8 years. Corporate Right Wing America, I am not listening to you!!!!
    Douglas Stoddard

    September 29, 2009 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  20. Bonnie Kimberly

    Mr Naylor apparently never heard back from this lady. I guess manners are not a republican thing! Let's see how she does over all. I think the right needs to get up to date on how to get folks on board with thier adjenda. So far it just doesn't seem to be working anywhere. I do realize Sarah Palin et al are out there but for the most part no one stricks me as being very much able to carry the ball.

    September 29, 2009 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  21. Briana the college student

    I would be bothered to know that one of my choices would be someone who didn't vote for 28 years.

    September 29, 2009 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  22. IndyVoter

    Uh-Oh Republicans, an Affirmative-Action switch! WHERE IS THE OUTRAGE? Naylor switched his affiliation for something other than who he thought was the best candidate! Let's see if she gets the same treatment that Justice Sotomayor got....yeah right.

    September 29, 2009 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  23. Bob Pacific Grove, Ca

    The only moderate republican to stand a chance of replacing Schwarzenager for governor in California is Tom Campbell......As a registered California Democrat for over 40 years I can tell you that Campbell is a stand up, no-nonsense politician who can get things done. I could easily see myself voting for him depending on who the democratic nominee is.....

    September 29, 2009 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  24. Simmy

    Probably got some ebay dollars to switch....

    September 29, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  25. some guy in New Hampshire

    Why do celebrities and bigwig business folk who are not politicians and have no visible experience developing and implementing public policy always seem to want to start at the top? Isn't it advisable to run for the state legislature and get some chops before letting your ego tell you that you can run the whole show? CEO'ing a for-profit corporation is NOT the same thing as governing a multi-part, nonprofit government beholden to a range of consituencies.

    September 29, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
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