Meg Whitman, the Republican Candidate for Governor, has now surpassed NY Mayor, Michael Bloomberg in the competition for the deepest personal political pockets in American history. According to the LA Times, “Whitman dumped another $20 million into her campaign, bringing her record personal campaign spending to $141.5 million.”
Her record breaking personal campaign contributions prove only one thing, money can’t buy popularity. Jerry Brown, the Democratic Candidate for Governor, had a 7 percentage point lead over Whitman among likely voters in a recent Reuters/Ipsos poll. Whether or not her personal contributions will win Meg Whitman the title of Governor of California, is yet to be determined.
Whitman, an Internet Billionaire, has more money to sink into her campaign and continues to do so. It’s hard to understand just how her $141.5 million contribution compares to her opponents. So, to put this in perspective, Jerry Brown has spent $10.7 million on his campaign. Most of his total comes from external contributions.
A breakdown of Whitman’s funds shows that she has spent $6 million on her campaign staff and pays her chief strategist $92,000 per month. She has also paid out $850,000 on chartered planes.
Brown, on the other hand, has spent $350,000, traveling mostly on Southwest Airlines. He has spent about $321,000 on staff and he pays his strategist $15,000 per month.
Do these contribution amounts have anything to do with the candidates’ qualifications for office? No. And yet, personal campaign contributions continue to rise. Maybe the problem is lack of choice. Why aren’t voters seeing more political parties represented as we go to election?
The problem is visibility and the responsibility falls directly into the media’s hands. If voters had any hope of departing from a bi-partisan voting strategy, they are out of luck. Laura Wells, the Green Party Candidate, tried to use a fake ticket to enter Tuesday’s debate at the Dominican University of California in San Rafael. Wells was not able to participate in the debate because of lack of support in the polls. And, although Wells had supporters with her during her foiled debate entry attempt, she was lacking a key ingredient in this race'”cash.
No matter who is chosen for Governor of California this year, the decision rests solely in the hands of California voters.
Regardless of political affiliation, one thing is clear'”money gets a candidate in the game, but it won’t necessarily help her win.