Brown up against wealthy Republicans

Chris Rizo Mar. 29, 2010, 5:38pm

Jerry Brown (D)

Meg Whitman (R)

Steve Poizner (R)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Legal Newsline)-California Attorney General Jerry Brown is up against some Republican challengers' very, very deep pockets in his fight to be California's governor once again.

Brown, a Democrat, is vying for the post he held nearly three decades ago. Also fighting to succeed Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is former eBay chief executive Meg Whitman and state Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner, both Republicans.

In her pursuit for the GOP nomination, Whitman has become a near-mainstay on California airwaves, generating much-needed cash for the state's struggling broadcasting companies.

Since the beginning of the year, Whitman's campaign has spent $27.2 million on television and radio spots. That amounts to her camp shelling out $4 a second on political ads, the San Jose Mercury News reported Sunday.

Whitman's ability to incessantly be on the Golden State's airwaves is due in no small part to the large sum of money she has given her own campaign.

She has put $39 million of her personal wealth into her campaign coffers so far, while Poizner, a fellow former Silicon Valley CEO, has given his campaign $19 million.

Brown, the son of a California governor who has spent his life in public service, has no personal wealth to tap, but is very likely to have deep-pocketed interest groups, including labor unions, help him fight either Whitman or Poizner for the November general election.

Papers filed last week with the California secretary of state's office showed that Brown, who just this month officially entered the governor's race, has more than $14 million in cash in his campaign account. So far this year, Brown has spent just $144,000, mostly on campaign consultants, transportation and office space.

The latest poll shows that Whitman has a wide lead over Poizner for the GOP nomination and a narrow one over Brown in a hypothetical general election matchup.

In the race for the GOP nomination, Whitman had 63 percent support among likely Republican primary voters while Poizner was backed by 14 percent. Since January, Whitman's lead over Poizner in the Field Poll has grown by more than 20 points.

In a hypothetical general election matchup, Whitman led Brown 46 percent to 43 percent. In January, Brown led Whitman by 10 points. The only region where Brown led Whitman is the San Francisco-Bay Area and in northern California areas outside the nine-county Bay Area region.

Brown may seek another two terms as governor because he was governor from 1975 to 1983, before term limits were enacted. He was the mayor of Oakland, Calif., from 1998 to 2006, before being elected attorney general in 2007.

The Field Poll of 748 likely general election voters and 353 likely Republican primary voters was conducted from March 9 to 15. The survey has a 3.7 percent margin of error in its general election results and a 5.5 percent margin of error in its Republican primary survey.

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