October 6th, 2010
02:45 PM ET
12 years ago

Whitman breaks record

(CNN)- Meg Whitman's gone where no other California gubernatorial candidate has gone before.

According to new campaign finance records filed Tuesday, Whitman has spent $140.1 million overall on her bid for governor, eclipsing the amount spent on previous gubernatorial elections in the state.

By comparison, all the candidates in the 2006 gubernatorial election spent a combined $40.5 million, while 135 candidates spent a combined $49.9 million in the 2003 gubernatorial recall election. In 2002, gubernatorial candidates spent a combined $107.1 million.

The former eBay CEO herself has donated a total of $119 million to her campaign, more than any candidate has spent in personal funds in a single campaign. The previous record had been held by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who contributed $108.4 million to his 2009 re-election bid.

"California is an expensive place to run a campaign, but this is still a staggering amount for one candidate to spend on one statewide election," says CNN Political Research Director Robert Yoon. "This is a level of spending you usually only see from major presidential candidates and national party committees."

Whitman has spent approximately $55 million since early June, when she defeated former technology company CEO Steve Poizner in an expensive GOP primary campaign.

"Our campaign has a budget designed for victory and we've invested the necessary resources for success on Election Day. Meg is grateful to the many supporters who have donated and her personal investments ensure as Governor, she will not owe anything to anyone except the people of California," said Sarah Pompei, a Whitman campaign spokeswoman.

California Attorney General Jerry Brown, the Democratic gubernatorial nominee, has spent around $11 million on his campaign, but he didn't face any serious primary challenges and has enjoyed the support of spending by independent groups in his behalf. Groups funded by partially by labor organizations have spent more than $10 million on television commercials attacking Whitman.

Most recent polls of likely voters in California, including a CNN/Time/Opinion Research Corporation survey, indicate that Brown holds a single digit advantage over Whitman.

The winner of November's general election will succeed moderate Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who's prevented by term limits from running for re-election.

Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @PsteinhauserCNN

Filed under: 2010 • California • Meg Whitman
soundoff (30 Responses)
  1. hwy911

    If Californians are interested in electing someone who has bought and paid for her own election (with money that surely could have been used in a MUCH more humanitarian way, given the shape of California's economy), Whitman's your candidate. $140 million? Let's see... how many jobs might she have created, using all that cash?

    October 6, 2010 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  2. Terry McN

    All the more pleasure we'll get here in CA when she loses!

    October 6, 2010 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  3. PacificView

    It is gross how much money this woman is spending for a political office. Maybe if she had a record to run on she would not have to spend so much. Meg – the ad.

    October 6, 2010 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  4. Rick

    NutMeg will not buy this election.

    October 6, 2010 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  5. D. Bunker

    CA voters should be extremely suspicious of Whitman's motives in spending so much of her own money to buy the governorship. She is a known supporter of typical GOBPbagger nonsense like "free trade" (ie, outsourcing), deregulation and tax cuts for herself and her ultrawealthy corporate predator cronies. Chances are, if she's elected you'll see massive attempts at near minimum wage privatization and state assets up for sale on ebay. Wake up, people, she's trying to buy the job so she can make your state into a gian experiment for failed GOBP policies. If you liked the ditch they drove America into last time, you're gonna love the canyon she wants to drive CA into.

    October 6, 2010 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
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