Whitman spends $140M on Calif. gubernatorial race, raising nearly $30M from outside sources

By Juliet Williams, AP
Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Whitman spends $140M, much of it her own money

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Republican Meg Whitman has spent more than $140 million so far on her campaign for California governor, nearly $40 million of it during the last three months, she reported Tuesday.

The amount the billionaire former eBay chief executive has spent on advertising and political consultants, most of it from her personal fortune, stands in sharp contrast to Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown, who reported Tuesday that he has spent $10.7 million this year, nearly all of it since Labor Day.

Brown reported $22.6 million in campaign cash as he heads into the final month of the race against Whitman. He has raised about $33.5 million since forming an exploratory committee last year and has benefited from independent spending by unions.

Campaign finance reports filed Tuesday show Whitman has raised $29.5 million from outside sources, about $4.7 million from out-of-state donors, since she entered the race last year. In her first run for public office, she has given $119 million of her own money, a record for a U.S. candidate.

She has about $9 million cash on hand for the final month of the campaign.

Whitman’s report shows the Washington, D.C.-based Republican advertising agency Smart Media Group has taken in most of Whitman’s spending, nearly $92 million.

She has spent $6.8 million to date on her staff, including $90,000 a month to her chief strategist, Mike Murphy. Close friend and former eBay spokesman Henry Gomez makes $36,000 a month.

Whitman’s campaign also has spent nearly $12 million on outside consultants, $8.2 million on campaign literature, $1.2 million on polling and $850,000 on private air travel.

Brown, who relies on a roster of volunteer workers, has spent just $321,000 on campaign staff and consultants to date; campaign manager Steven Glazer earns $15,000 a month.

The bulk of Brown’s spending, nearly $9 million, has gone toward the ad campaign he recently launched, he also spent $94,000 on polling.

Brown has spent about $13,000 on air travel, most of it on Southwest Airlines.

Recent donations to Whitman’s campaign include $25,900 from original eBay president Jeffrey Skoll, $25,900 from the nation’s biggest cigarette maker, Philip Morris USA, and $10,000 from Microsoft Corp. CEO Steven Ballmer.

Brown, who is popular in Democratic-leaning Hollywood, continued to collect contributions from famous names, including $13,800 this month from actress Kate Capshaw, on top of the $25,000 she gave last year; $2,000 from actor Sean Penn, $25,000 each from husband-and-wife duo Danny Devito and Rhea Perlman, and $25,000 from Irish actress Katie McGrath.

David Crane, a special adviser to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, gave Brown another $1,000 this month on top of his $5,000 contribution in April.

About $1.8 million of Brown’s contributions have come from outside California.

Brown, the state attorney general who was governor from 1975 to 1983, has received significant financial help from public employee unions. They have spent $13.8 million on his behalf in the general election, according to the California Fair Political Practices Commission.

One of those groups, the Service Employees International Union, announced last week that it was launching a $5 million media campaign targeting Latino voters on Brown’s behalf.

Public opinion polls have shown the gubernatorial candidates are neck-and-neck, as some voters are expected to begin returning their absentee ballots, which counties began mailing Monday.

California candidates seeking statewide office and legislative seats, as well as ballot-measure committees, major donors and independent expenditure groups, were required to file their financial reports for the period ending Sept. 30 with the secretary of state’s office by midnight Tuesday.

will not be displayed