Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Bad News Keeps Piling Up for CA GOP

From the CDP:

In case you missed it: Bad News Keeps Piling Up for CA GOP

Two articles today that offer windows into the state of the race for the GOP candidates at the top of the ticket: Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina.

Yesterday, Meg Whitman hit the unprecedented $140 million mark in campaign spending, and she’s still not done. Why is that bad news? Her campaign remains stuck in neutral and has even started sliding in several polls. This is not where Meg Whitman and her high-priced consultants hoped to be at this point in the race — not after outspending their opponent 14 to 1.

Also, a new Field poll out today shows what California Democrats have known for months about that darn Sarah Palin endorsement that now hangs around Carly Fiorina’s neck like an albatross. In short, California’s Democratic-leaning, moderate electorate does not hold the half-term Alaska governor in high regard and is inclined to vote AGAINST a candidate who has received her endorsement.

The bad news is far from over for Fiorina as Governor Palin is scheduled to fly into California for an RNC-sponsored fundraiser in Orange County next week. If there’s one thing that follows Sarah Palin, it’s media attention — and that’s now part of the problem for Carly Fiorina and her team heading into the homestretch.
Whitman spends record $140 million on campaign
By Jack Chang
Published: Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2010 - 12:00 am | Page 1A
Last Modified: Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2010 - 10:28 am

Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman spent a record $140 million on her campaign through the end of September, including about $55 million since winning her party's nomination in June, according to campaign finance records filed Tuesday.

Her Democratic rival, Jerry Brown, spent less than a tenth of Whitman's total – about $11 million – but didn't face any serious primary challenger and could count on unions to run anti-Whitman advertising through the summer.

Five of the biggest union-funded independent expenditure groups, including California Working Families, Working Californians to Support Jerry Brown and Level the Playing Field, spent about $13 million through the end of September running ads and campaigning against Whitman, the records show.

The groups were funded by an array of unions, including the California Nurses Association, the California Teachers Association and the California State Council of Service Employees.

On top of that, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees spent $2 million on TV ads opposing Whitman.

The filings don't show the cost of issue ads run by the California Teachers Association against Whitman or U.S. Chamber of Commerce ads targeting Brown.

Whitman had $9.2 million in reserves at the end of September, while Brown had $22.6 million in cash on hand.

Whitman, the billionaire former CEO of online auction firm eBay, has invested more than $119 million of her own money in the campaign and has said she's prepared to spend up to $150 million of her wealth. Last month, she surpassed New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg as the biggest self-funding candidate in U.S. history.

Whitman spokeswoman Sarah Pompei noted that outside contributors were also pitching in, to the tune of at least $29 million by the end of September. Whitman collected $10.8 million in outside contributions from July to September, compared to Brown's $9.5 million.

"Our campaign has a budget designed for victory, and we've invested the necessary resources for success on Election Day," Pompei said.

Brown spokesman Sterling Clifford said state voters just aren't buying Whitman's message, despite the record spending. Public opinion polls show Brown and Whitman are locked in a tight race.

"It's an indication that you can spend a lot of money but if it's in the service of a message that voters don't buy from a candidate and that voters don't believe, you're still going to lose," Clifford said.

Whitman's campaign finance statement contained several eye-popping numbers in a race that has already smashed political records.

She has spent about $95 million so far on radio and TV advertising, with the radio spots debuting more than a year ago. By comparison, Brown has spent about $9 million on such advertising, which he launched on Labor Day.
Whitman has poured $8.2 million into campaign literature and mailings, including two editions of a glossy policy magazine mailed to hundreds of thousands of households.

She's also spent $11.7 million on consultants, including top adviser Mike Murphy, who earns $90,000 a month, close aide Henry Gomez at $36,000 a month and campaign manager Jillian Hasner at $30,000 a month.

Pompei said the Republican has had to invest heavily to battle Brown and the unions.

"There's no question these unions have bought and paid for Jerry Brown's campaign," Pompei said. "And if he's elected to his third term in office, they'll be looking to collect their IOUs."

Clifford responded that Brown, who was governor from 1975 to 1983, has proved he'll make decisions independent of the unions. In fact, Brown has said he'll seek pension changes and some cuts to bridge the state's budget deficits.

"There's one candidate in this race who's actually vetoed pay raises for employees, and that's Jerry Brown," Clifford said.

Poll: Palin woes could hurt Fiorina
By: Andy Barr
October 6, 2010 12:08 PM EDT

Nearly six of 10 California voters have a negative view of Sarah Palin, whose endorsement could be dragging down the state’s GOP Senate nominee, according to a new Field Poll.

The former Alaska governor and Republican vice presidential nominee has a 58 percent unfavorable rating in the Golden State, compared to a 33 percent favorable rating. Only 9 percent of the registered voters polled had no opinion.

Palin’s polling woes could have coattails as well.

Carly Fiorina, who is challenging Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer, has frequently touted her endorsement from Palin, but the survey shows Palin may be a drag on Fiorina’s numbers.

Fifty-three percent of those surveyed said they would be less inclined to vote for a candidate endorsed by Palin, while only 21 percent said they would be more inclined.

Among those who said they plan to vote in the Senate race, 47 percent of Fiorina supporters said they were more likely to back a candidate because of Palin’s support. But 84 percent of Boxer supporters said they would be less likely to vote for a candidate with Palin’s blessing.

The Fiorina campaign is not concerned about Palin’s poll numbers. “Voters are evaluating the candidates in this race as individuals,” said Fiorina spokeswoman Andrea Saul.

Palin is scheduled to appear in California next week for a Republican National Committee fundraiser in Orange County. She will be at another RNC fundraiser later in the month in Orlando.

Palin’s numbers in the state have declined since she was first introduced as John McCain’s running mate in September 2008, when both her favorable and unfavorable rating stood at 43 percent in the Field Poll.

The Field Poll survey included responses from 414 registered voters from Sept. 14 to Sept. 21 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 percentage points.