The Bottom Line: Whitman's Record-Breaking Run
February 1st, 2011
05:04 PM ET
12 years ago

The Bottom Line: Whitman's Record-Breaking Run


Washington (CNN) - We knew Meg Whitman had set a record in her failed bid to be the next California Governor. We now know the details: the Republican nominee and former eBay CEO spent $178 million, including $144 million of her own money.

That is a record for spending in a non-federal race and makes her the biggest self-funding candidate in U.S. history. Democrat Jerry Brown spent less than a quarter of what his opponent did: $36 million.

Now Brown, in his second stint as the state's chief executive, has bigger financial worries as he tries to find ways to stem California's growing red ink. Facing a budget deficit of more than $25 billion, Brown is urging the state legislature to put on the state ballot proposals for hiking income and sales taxes.

"At this moment of extreme difficult, it behooves us to turn to the people and get a clear mandate on how we should proceed – either to extend the taxes, as I fervently believe, or to cut deeply into the programs from which, under federal law, we can still extract the sums required," Brown said Monday night in his State of the State address.

Among the proposals: renewing a quarter-percentage point increase personal income taxes, which expired at the end of 2010, and maintaining a 1 percentage point bump in the sales tax, which is supposed to lapse at the end of June.

Two-thirds of lawmakers have to agree to put the tax measure on the ballot.

Even if the tax measure is approved, Brown's budget still calls for spending cuts of $12.5 billion.

CNNMoney's Tami Luhby contributed to this story.

Filed under: California • Meg Whitman
soundoff (23 Responses)
  1. Jaz

    'Bout time the rich can't buy their way into whatever they want!

    February 1, 2011 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  2. Andy

    Poor meggy........she got no job anymore, maybe she could be my maid............................

    February 1, 2011 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  3. Rick in AZ

    If she spent only half that much on Homeless Shelters,Schools,Libraries, Job Creation Programs and other social programs she would be Govenor of California today. But then she wouldn't be Meg Whitman.

    February 1, 2011 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  4. You call yourself Patriot, We the people call you a lunatic

    Republicans spend money like water. Whitman is one of those rare cases when it was her own. Usually they are spending tax payer money on their own Bush unfunded programs.

    February 1, 2011 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  5. ChollyGee

    Just think, she could have spend $25 and still been a loser.

    February 1, 2011 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  6. annie s

    Bottom line. Californians were not swayed by Ms. Whitman's excess spending. Instead, they actually voted for the best person to lead the State.

    February 1, 2011 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  7. Palin: Like Coulter ... Minus the Manparts

    Sorry, Meg, money didn't buy you much in politics as well as not making you seem any happier either. As a matter of fact, you were one of the biggest "Debbie Downer" candidates I can think of in recent history. Poor, poor, little rich girl with a really bad hairdo to boot.

    February 1, 2011 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  8. marylandvoter

    an EBAY, CEO doing what? nobody knows or can explain, yet, somehow, Whitman became a billionaire. i wish had 144 million dollars to throw away on a wish-filled fantasy! Actually, I would have kept the money and lived well in early age retirement, without any financial worries.

    February 1, 2011 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  9. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Before she spent $144 million on self, trust me she already knew she'd get it back and more with the "Bush tax cuts" for the rich.

    February 1, 2011 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  10. Terry

    Why, Meg, why? You throw money around like a sailor on shore leave and expect it to make a diffeence to people who are huring and looking for leadership. Reminds me of when I worked for you and eBay announced thay for the first time in company history no quarterly bonuses would be paid, but a few days later there was a filing showing you had received a $1M+ bonus. Out of touch and completely uncaring....

    February 1, 2011 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  11. FiveAcreFarm

    She should have just mailed every registered voter in California a crisp new twenty dollar bill. She would have have spent less, and just think of the votes...

    February 1, 2011 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  12. Voice of Reason

    I guess this means that if you arent the right person for the job, even throwing your $$$Buh-Zillions$$$ at the votors will not get you elected.

    There's hope for this country yet.

    February 1, 2011 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  13. Voice of Reason

    And we wonder why the GOP is $30 million in debt... Supporting weak candidates like Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina. These candidates have business experience, unfortunately it is the experience of having been dismal failures. Fiorina drove HP into the ground and happily accepted the board's 'please-go-away' check, and Whitman somehow wheedled a billion dollars out of the world's largest yard sale and into her own bank account.

    Not the sort of people you want to give money or power to.

    February 1, 2011 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  14. S. In California

    We are SMART here in California. Take your money and get OUT of our lives PERMANENTLY.

    February 1, 2011 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  15. they call me "tater salad"

    My family and I could live quite comfortably for the rest of our lives with just a measly 15% of that........What a waste!

    February 1, 2011 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  16. normajean

    As a Californian, it made me sick to read day after day the amounts of money this woman was throwing away on advertising to win herself an office. To think of all the hard hit families with small children that weren't able to afford food, the young couples losing their first home, the aging whose medical care was on hold or the jobless going to bed at night knowing that they were no closer to a job than yesterday. If she had helped seriously hurting families instead, she might have gotten enough votes to win the office. We talked about that at the time.It made us all sick!Once spent,this money was gone with nothing to show for it.

    February 1, 2011 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  17. lgny

    Sadly, with the Supreme Court ruling, these dollar figures will only go higher.

    Perhaps we can frame the next election campaign on "Which candidate can prove his/her management skills by running the best campaign on $nnn dollars". Pick whatever dollar amount you want. The point is to get them to prove who can get the most done with a limited budget.

    February 1, 2011 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  18. Chris

    Goes to show just how stupid she was and why we really need to put in place campaign financing reform and how much a candidate can get in donation and what they can put toward their campaign!!!

    February 1, 2011 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  19. ThinkAgain

    I am sooooooooo glad she lost! What a waste of air!

    February 1, 2011 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  20. Clwyd

    Just another example of republicans trying to buy elections. Now they have the Koch Brothers to chip in and the Supreme Court ruling that allows unlimited spending. They want to set budgets and decrease the deficit, but can spend, spend, spend.
    Their actions and words are full of lies!

    February 1, 2011 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  21. David, CA

    Meg blew through that money with out batting an eye and expresses no regrets. I shudder to think what she would have done with money that WASN'T hers!

    February 1, 2011 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  22. Indy

    I would hate to answer the questions at the Pearly Gates. It is absolutley shameful in these economic times that this amount of money can be wasted on an ego alone.

    February 1, 2011 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  23. Jay

    Man that's the first I heard of a Republican wasting a ton of money to get absolutely no result.

    What, there was a significantly stupider Republican who started two wars and wasted not millions, not billions, but trillions to get absolutely nothing? You have to be kidding.

    Wow I'm glad there aren't that many stupid people out there to put these Republicans into office. What they won the House back?

    Man are we in trouble (again) or what?

    February 1, 2011 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |