April 6th, 2010
10:22 AM ET
13 years ago

New name and big bucks in California

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/04/06/art.whitman.gi.jpg caption ="Meg Whitman has said that she could contribute up to $150 million in her bid for California governor."](CNN) - Some big bucks and a new name are making headlines in this year's battle for California's governor.

The new name is Peter Schurman, the former founding executive director of MoveOn.org. The San Francisco resident is announcing his candidacy for governor and hopes to challenge Jerry Brown in the state's June primary.

"Our Democratic standard-bearer must take bold stands on the key issues facing California – like closing our budget gap by making corporations, big commercial property owners, and the richest people pay their fair share," says Schurman, in an e-mail release.

Brown, California's attorney general and former two-term governor from 1975-1983, is currently the only major candidate in the running for the Democratic nomination.

Brown campaign press secretary Sterling Clifford tells CNN that the campaign remains very confident that Brown will be his party's nominee for governor.

The big bucks belong to Meg Whitman. The billionaire former CEO of eBay announced Tuesday that she contributed another $20 million to her bid for governor. That brings to $59 million the amount of money Whitman has donated to her campaign. Whitman has said that she could contribute up to $150 million in her bid for California governor.

Whitman, who served as an adviser and surrogate for Sen. John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign, has used a big chunk of the money to pay for a multi-million dollar television ad campaign across the Golden State. And it may be paying off. A Los Angeles Times/University of Southern California poll released Monday suggests that Whitman's commercials have helped erase her once unknown status in California. The survey, and two other recent polls of California voters, indicate that Whitman holds a slight lead over Brown in a hypothetical general election matchup. According to those surveys, Whitman holds a large lead over state Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner in the June Republican primary.

Whitman raised more than $10.2 million from outside contributors in 2009 and brought in more than $1.6 million from contributors so far this year, according to her campaign.

"Californians cannot afford more failure in Sacramento. Meg is committed to reaching the millions of voters who can help build A New California," says Whitman campaign manager Jillian Hasner.

California's current governor, Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger, is term limited.

Filed under: 2010 • California • Meg Whitman
soundoff (45 Responses)
  1. Minnesotan

    Peter Schurman would be a great governor. Meg Whitman is just another example of the cookie-cutter conservative, rich, white, delusional, failure that the conservatives keep running.

    April 6, 2010 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  2. conniesz

    The only thing Peter Schurman will accomplish by challenging Jerry Brown is to ensure a Republican will be governor of California. The last thing the Dems need at this very moment in time is a divisive primary contest. They're going to have a tough time no matter what, but to attempt to divide at this point in time is insane. Get behind Jerry Brown and make it work – no one else has a chance at all.

    April 6, 2010 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  3. Ben in Texas

    As long as we're going to allow candidates like Whitman to buy elections, why don't we at least do it out in the open? Instead of having an election, which costs lots of money, have candidates contribute to the reduction of the state deficit directly. Whoever chips in more of their personal fortune to reduce the deficit is automatically made governor!

    Just think how much Bloomburg could have done for New York City if he had just donated the money he spent on his mayoral campaign instead of spending it on ads. Whitman could make a real dent in California's deficit out of her checking account. If you're going to sell the office to the highest bidder anyway, at least get the money for the state or city that's selling.

    April 6, 2010 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  4. Bob Pomeroy

    Please, let's not have another democratic party goring. We have real, major, difficult problems which cannot be resolved by self-immolation. Keep the primary positive and directed to issues and education, not bumper sticker slogans. Set the pattern for the general election.

    April 6, 2010 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  5. Northwest

    Ca.voters wake up Meg is like a steamengine coming down the tracks and you are on the track so jump off with all the big bucks she raked off ebay she is loaded baby.

    Not to even mention all the train load of party of no baggage with her just having to look at Meg should be enough for a NO vote .

    April 6, 2010 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  6. Stuart Tuxman

    IMHO Mr Shurman is dangerous. He says, "Our Democratic standard-bearer must take bold stands ... like ... making ... the richest people pay their fair share." What is his definition of a "fair share" ? Those in the top 5% of incomes (> $160,000) already pay over 60% of all income taxes. Over 40% of households already pay no income tax. Again and again, people who ignore the numbers and hard facts, cry for more taxes on the "Rich", as if that is the solution to all problems. All that does is to punish them for being successful. We cannot tax our way out of the current budgetary problems. We cannot afford to continually tax those who actually work, and contribute to society, to pay for excessive spending on those who do not. Stop the madness! God help us if Mr. Shurman actually becomes Governor.

    April 6, 2010 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  7. Jerry - Florida

    How can this idiot help if the organization that he represents is partly responsible for the mess that our beloved country finds itself immersed in. MoveOn.org has been spreading lies across the country, and because of the deep pockets of one of their major supporter (George Soros), they are able to get away with it. MoveOn.org is intent on damaging our country beyond repair.

    I hope Californians are able to see through Mr. Schurman's hypocritical facade.

    This is change we definitely "CAN NOT BELIEVE IN."

    Californians, YOU CAN DO IT!!!

    April 6, 2010 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  8. Vince Cukrov

    The people of our fair state need to understand that Meg Whitman is simply trying to buy the Governor's office. She will destroy what is left of humanity in this state (like it's not bad enough after the Arnold years).

    April 6, 2010 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  9. stevetall

    Isn't that great? Another person buying their way into the political arena. No training, no experience, and never having voted in an election, this woman thinks she can help. What, like she did with eBay? If she's such a great business woman, what's she doing trying to get into politics? Talk about trying to start at the top! Start with a smaller state, Meg. Work your way up, then take the money and run.

    April 6, 2010 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  10. geecee

    Meg Whitman is probably a very intelligent, capable woman to be Governor of California. She is fortunate to have so much money to finance her campaign. Too bad she doesn't look like Sarah Palin or she would have had that money simply donated to her by all the Palin-loving lapdogs out there who only care about Palin because she is good-looking, even though she is dumb as dirt. But, Meg, you don'[t have the looks Sarah does, so you are going to have to pay your own way to the Governorship!

    April 6, 2010 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  11. Darth Vadik, CA

    Liberal California, LOL

    The only Democrat that was a governor in the last 25 years in California was ran out of office by the Republican thugs and the likes of Arnold who had meetings with Enron executives even prior to him running for governor, and somehow California is looked upon as a "Liberal" failure.

    Which brings me to my point, we need another Republican rich corporate thug running California like we need a brain tumor and caner at the same time.

    April 6, 2010 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  12. Greg, San Francisco, CA

    I guess if she manages to win she'll just balance California's budget by throwing her own money at it. Seriously, doesn't she see that the fiscal irresponsibility and dictatorial nature of her campaign are showing the voters how awful she would be as Governor? She's spent $40M+ for a 2% bump in the polls. Here in California, her snarky attack ads against Poizner are already starting to grate on our nerves. She won't talk to the press or release her tax records. By the time she becomes the nominee the entire state will want her to shut the hell up and no one will listen. She's a loser through and through.

    April 6, 2010 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  13. Sniffit

    One thing's for sure...her forehead is as big as her wallet.

    April 6, 2010 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  14. Darth Vadik, CA

    Jerry Brown should make a decent governor, and as usual, the Democrats are left to clean Republican messes.

    April 6, 2010 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  15. Sue

    Based on Whitman now leading in the polls--the California voters want someone who is more conservative---not someone from the loony left.

    Based on ALL national polls---the MAJORITY in the country are moderate to conservative---NOT the loony left. The majority are fiscally conservative and moderate regarding social issues.

    And, the Democrats think that someone from the loony left has a chance???? Not even in California!!!!

    April 6, 2010 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  16. Pam from Iowa

    As a billionaire, Whitman really knows and understands the average citizen.....
    Just keep telling yourself that.......

    April 6, 2010 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  17. randy

    The current Gov. of California has had his problems. But lets be honest here. Who controls both houses of California. The Democrats have the majority in California and just maybe they should stop pointing fingers and fix our state. every budget in the past 30+ years have been democratic budgets. As far as Jerry Brown goes, been there done that. How well did he led this state in the 70's and early 80's. If he is the best the Democrats can offer us then we all deserve Meg. I don't care if it is a Democrat or Rebublican. Lets find someone that will stand up to both houses in California. Make them work and do not let them go home until the state is fixed. But then again what do I care. I am moving out of the state for this very reason. better to be in the Mid-West.

    April 6, 2010 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  18. LC in CA

    We in California will get the best governor money can buy.

    April 6, 2010 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  19. Mark

    California needs a smart businesswoman in the governors mansion. I suspect she will win by a big margin...

    April 6, 2010 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  20. gt

    california is such a mess i dont think anyone can save them...

    April 6, 2010 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
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