October 6th, 2010
02:45 PM ET
10 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. u2canfail

    It is nice to be rich, you can see if "buying and election" works.

    October 6, 2010 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |

    I wonder how people can vote for a candidate that hasn't voted for decades and now thinks she wants to run a state. She couldn't bother to vote but now has spent 119 million dollars on a campaign. I just don't get it.

    October 6, 2010 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  3. stufthis

    $140 million, and she could not afford to hire an American housekeeper. But on her behalf, I still think $140 million is less than what the Koch Brothers have spent on the mid terms.

    October 6, 2010 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  4. Riley

    Meg has earned my vote. Jerry Brown is a career politician who was voted out of office once before. Cannot imagine why we would want him back.

    October 6, 2010 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  5. Russ

    What's wrong with this picture? How badly do you want this job that you would pay that much to get it? Sounds like someone wants to get in there to help her rich friends out. Hand out jobs to her CEO type buddies that have lost theirs because of the recession. Why else would someone pay out this much cash to land such a low paying job?

    October 6, 2010 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  6. anagram_kid

    Just imagine if even half of that was invested into an industry to generate jobs that will be around after the election. What a waste.

    October 6, 2010 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  7. stufthis

    Rich Republicans, like Mega Monster, are so out of touch with middle America.

    October 6, 2010 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  8. Four and The Door

    I'm just glad she has both the right ideas and the money. Jerry Brown is not what California needs in 2010. There too many opportunities for improvement to take 3 steps backward.

    October 6, 2010 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  9. carlos

    and the winner will be Mr. Jerry Brown.....at least she helped with the economy, idiot...............LATINOS will vote Mr. Brown into office.

    October 6, 2010 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  10. Eric of Reseda

    I'm sorry, but if ANYONE represents the sickness that is American politics, it's Whitman. Her thirst for power is bizarre. Think what she could do with her money as a private citizen, if she REALLY cared about Californians. But she doesn't. She just wants power in o0rder to help her powerful friends. Typical GOP'er. Oh, and she is a PROVEN liar.

    October 6, 2010 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  11. Republicans is smart in the head area

    She's horrible and will not be elected.

    October 6, 2010 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  12. Jacob

    breaks a spending record in the worst economy of our generation? shouldn't that be concerning for every Californian?

    October 6, 2010 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  13. annie s

    ""Our campaign has a budget designed for victory and we've invested the necessary resources for success on Election Day". America. Where money can buy anything.

    October 6, 2010 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  14. Papasan in AZ

    Whitman's inability to take responsibility should be enough evidence for the NutMeg Followers to give her a good look over, but they still blindly follow an inept, totally incompetent Rich Girl. Republicans can't be this stupid.

    October 6, 2010 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  15. Scott in Atlanta

    Okay... Nevermind she is, flat out, trying to buy the Governership. Let's talk about the fact that she's highly inefficient and ineffective at it. You can pretty much give everyone in California a $20 bill, and they'll view you more favorably. But even after $140 million dollars, she still lags in the polls and faces a steep up hill climb???

    Things that make you say, "hmmmmmm" And she looks like that meany in Misery...lol

    October 6, 2010 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  16. Scott in Atlanta

    If you don't vote for her, she'll pull you out of the snow, put you in a bed, and break your ankles with a sledge hammer.

    Some will hear a "swoosh" sound after reading that. That's the sound of it going over your head.

    October 6, 2010 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  17. Save California business (jobs)

    Whitman will be twice the governor that Brown would be.

    Note: Brown is also rich. Vote for Whitman because she will help make California economically viable again. Brown will be worse than Davis and Arnold combined.

    October 6, 2010 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  18. Darth Vadik, CA

    Goes to show how disliked this woman is, and how smart the Californians are getting. When someone keeps robbing you all the time, you don't turn around and just hand them your house keys. That is like me leaving my house wide open and posting a sign in the front yard saying "here you go people, help yourself out with anything you want in my house"

    PURE Capitalism does NOT equal freedom, it equals SLAVERY (see Darfur, they have a "perfect" government system called Libertarianism, see how it's working out for them)

    Then again, you people have been brainwashed so much for 60 years, that you don't even know that "under God" was not in the original pledge of allegiance, it was added there by the McCarthy like freaks.

    October 6, 2010 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  19. Enrique

    Why doesn't she give this money to charities, to those really in need. She's just feeding her ego. Delusion personified.

    October 6, 2010 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  20. 27 Days until Socialism dies in the United States

    You have to admit, SHE IS COMMITED and puts her money where her mouth is!

    Frankly, I wouldn't spend one cent of my money trying to save the looney leftists in California from themselves. If they want to turn California into Cuba West then let them. They deserve the complete mess they have brought upon the state. You can't help people that won't help themselves and are too arrogant to know they are clueless.

    And if Obozo, Reid and Pelosi have their way, the California Disaster will be extended country wide. Vote them ALL OUT in November. Our survival counts on it!

    October 6, 2010 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  21. T'SAH from Virginia

    MONEY cannot buy an election – it's happening in DE – it happened in FL – it's happening in NY and it will happen in CA!!!! That is not all that will happen – Democrats are going to do MUCH BETTER than what the media is portraying!!!! We are going to WIN more and LOSE less because we are FED UP with the RepubliCAN'Ts and their HIDDEN AGENDA!!!

    DEMOCRATS – keep STATING the CASE and UNITING the BASE and the RepubliCAN'Ts/Tea Party Extremist will LOSE this RACE in November 2010!!

    This is T'SAH from Virginia and I approve this message!!

    October 6, 2010 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  22. No Tea For Me

    Money and ego good grief she has more money than she knows what to do with.

    October 6, 2010 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  23. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    All that say they want "less government" means nothing because a candidate that spends the kind of money Whitman has spent means if you aren't the highest bidder you don't get less you get nothing.

    October 6, 2010 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  24. Anonymous

    Why is this woman trying to buy an election?
    She says nothing about her abilities in her ads- she does pretent to- and expects Californians to vote for her.
    She won the nomination with negative ads because Republicans like mud-slinging. But that won't work in the general- we are smarter than that.

    October 6, 2010 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  25. vette gal

    ...and this is why there should be a limit on how much a politician can spend on advertising. At this point, the are buying the votes. Unfortunately most of the populace votes on name recognition and when a candidate has this much money spent in advertising, their name is going to be seen or heard the most. It's too bad we are such a lazy and unformed populace that we vote by name recognition and not the issues or stances of the politicians.

    October 6, 2010 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
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