California’s $ 100 Million Primary

CaliforniaConsidering that California is essentially broke, Meg Whitman and Steve Poizner sure do want to spend a lot of money for the privilege of leading it:

The Republican gubernatorial primary in California could cost more than $100 million as the two wealthy front-runners continue to spend their own fortunes attacking each other.

Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner released his latest salvo earlier this week, using a Web video to argue that former eBay CEO Meg Whitman created a “special site for the sale of pornography and sex paraphernalia.”

“Meg Whitman oversaw the creation of a special website just to sell pornography and amassed millions in profits from it,” Poizner spokeswoman Bettina Inclan said in a statement. “If Californians wanted a governor who made a fortune off pornography, then Larry Flynt would now be in office.”

The Whitman camp noted that Poizner’s outlandish attack was released shortly after former Vice President Dick Cheney endorsed Whitman in an op-ed in the Orange County Register.

“Is Steve Poizner seriously trying to tell us that eBay is a pornography site?” Whitman spokesman Dan Comstock said in a statement. “eBay’s millions of users, including my grandmother, will find that a little hard to believe. Steve Poizner is desperate. He lacks momentum. He lacks grassroots support. Most of all, he lacks honesty.”

The main reason that the primary is so expensive, of course, is the simple fact that California is a large state with at least three (San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego) of the more expensive media markets in the country. Also, the fact that Poizner has closed the distance in the polls during the final weeks of the campaign necessarily means that Whitman is going to pour more of her own money into the race.  It’s just ironic that the two of them are spending so much to become Governor of a state in such terrible financial shape.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2010, US Politics, ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020.


  1. yetanotherjohn says:

    I am reading a book on pre-imperial Rome. Candidates were expected to provide cash payments to “enthuse” the voters, pat for games to “entertain” the voters and would have clients whom they would essentially “employ” supporters.

    How we have advanced in the last 2000 years.

    To put this in perspective, they are spending their own money and/or other people’s money given with the intent of providing what they hope will be better government. Holding onto the money won’t help the California economy (in fact the money does employ printers, ad makers, TV station employees, etc). But leaving it to someone like Jerry Brown to address the problem is a sure way of having things get worse.

  2. Steve Plunk says:

    As well as YAJ’s points I would like to add these people have achieved much success in business leaving the political arena a new challenge for them. Beyond the altruistic reasons they may also be looking for additional successes that provide a great deal of personal satisfaction. Saving the state is something to be very proud of if they can pull it off.