Meg Whitman was hoping for a treat, but California voters seem to have played a cruel Halloween trick on her instead. Unless something rather unexpected happens in the next week, she is going to get roundly beaten by Jerry Brown in the gubernatorial election. According to a Los Angeles Times/USC poll released over the weekend, Jerry Brown now leads Whitman 52% to 39% among likely voters. That’s adding a whole lot of insult to the injury resulting from having famously spent $140 million of her own money on her campaign.
Whitman, of course, is a businesswoman. Presumably, therefore, she understands all about the folly of pouring good money after bad. If the writing that she sees on the wall today had been legible just a month ago, she would have kept on fighting the good fight, no doubt, but not quite so extravagantly. However, California voters kept giving her just enough hope to induce her to keep pouring tens of millions more of her own money into the race.
Back in March 2009, Whitman had estimated that her campaign spending would be in the ballpark of $50 million:
Whitman is eager to fight what will probably be the most expensive governor’s race in history. When I mention that I’ve heard that her campaign might cost $150 million to $200 million, she doesn’t bristle. And when I ask whether she’s willing to spend, say, $50 million of her own money, she nods and replies enthusiastically, “It’s conceivable!” Brown is amused but also a bit intimidated by the newcomer’s challenge: “I would not underestimate her,” he says. “Fifty million? That’s a lot!”
And there she was, just two weeks ago, putting in another $20 million, to bring her close to the $140 million mark:
California GOP gubernatorial nominee Meg Whitman has contributed an additional $20 million to her own campaign.
The latest contribution was made Tuesday night while much of the political press corps was focused on her heated debate with her Democratic opponent Jerry Brown, a source told POLITICO
The former eBay CEO has now contributed $139 million of her own funds to her record-setting campaign.
And all because the polls showed her still running fairly close.