[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/09/28/art.whitmantech.gi.jpg caption="A new poll indicates that Meg Whitman has a large lead over her remaining Republican opponent in the battle for California's GOP gubernatorial nomination."](CNN) - A new poll indicates that Meg Whitman has a large lead over her remaining Republican opponent in the battle for California's GOP gubernatorial nomination.
According to a Field poll released Friday morning, Whitman holds a 45 percent to 17 percent lead over the state's insurance commissioner Steve Poizner in the Republican primary, with nearly 4 in 10 GOP primary voters undecided. Whitman, the former CEO of eBay, is a billionaire with national party connections. She served as an adviser and surrogate in 2008 for Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign.
The survey's release comes after former Republican Rep. Tom Campbell dropped his bid for governor and is now running for the Senate in California. A Field Poll released Thursday indicates that Campbell now leads the GOP field in the fight to oust Sen. Barbara Boxer of California. Before dropping out of the governor's race, Campbell was in second place, trailing Whitman but leading Poizner, according to the Field poll.
In a hypothetical general election matchup, the survey indicates that Democratic state attorney general Jerry Brown leads Whitman by 10 points, 46 percent to 36 percent, with nearly 1 in 5 voters undecided, and Brown leads Poizner by 17 points, 48 percent to 31 percent, with just over a fifth of voters undecided. Brown, the former two-term governor from 1975 to 1983, has yet to declare his candidacy for governor. California's current governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, is term limited and prevented from running for re-election this year.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/01/21/art.megwhitman4.gi.jpg caption="Meg Whitman loaned her gubernatorial campaign $20 million on Thursday."](CNN) - The two Republican candidates for governor in California have coffers full of cash to battle for their party's nomination, and much of it has come from their own pockets.
Meg Whitman has contributed almost $40 million to her campaign so far. The former CEO of eBay announced Thursday that she has supplied her campaign with $20 million in new funding. In 2009, Whitman gave her campaign $19 million and raised $10.2 million from donors. She now has more than $30 million cash on hand to try to secure her party's nomination.
Whitman's infusion of money into her campaign's bank account bolsters her cash lead over her Republican rival, California's Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner.
Poizner has $17.5 million cash on hand, most of which came from his own contributions – he has given his campaign more than $19 million since announcing his candidacy. The insurance commissioner has raised almost $2.5 million from outside contributions.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/09/22/art.whitman.gi.jpg caption="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.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/09/28/art.cagop.gi.jpg caption="Meg Whitman, left, and Carly Fiorina lost in a straw poll conducted by rivals at the California GOP convention."](CNN) - Two Republican statewide candidates in California are touting the results of a state GOP convention straw poll that showed conservative activists overwhelmingly rejecting the gubernatorial bid of former eBay CEO Meg Whitman and the likely Senate bid of former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina.
The campaign of gubernatorial candidate Steve Poizner boasted about his 64-point victory over Whitman in Sunday's straw poll on their Web site and on Twitter. Senate candidate Chuck DeVore's campaign touted their own dominating win over Fiorina - 91 percent to six percent - in a campaign e-mail celebrating their success at this weekend's Fall convention in Indian Wells.
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee then jumped on the news of Fiorina's loss as a sign of tension within the California Republican ranks, and shopped the poll results to Washington reporters.
One problem: There was no official straw poll at the California Republican Party Convention.
"We did not conduct a straw poll at this convention whatsoever," California GOP chairman Ron Nehring said in an e-mail.
So who did? An aide to DeVore - a state Assemblyman who has actively courted the party's conservative wing as he prepares to battle Fiorina for the Republican Senate nomination - acknowledged that Sunday's poll was engineered by the DeVore campaign, even though it was described as a "CRP straw poll" in an e-mail to supporters.