SACRAMENTO (AP) — Final election reports released Monday show Jerry Brown spent about $36.5 million in his successful bid to become governor, just a fraction of the $178.5 million spent by his Republican opponent, Meg Whitman, in what was the costliest campaign for statewide office in the nation’s history.
Whitman, the former eBay CEO, tapped $144 million from her personal fortune and raised the rest from donors in the 2010 California governor’s race, including the primary and general election cycles. She surpassed the previous record for personal spending in a campaign — the $109 million New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg spent in his quest for a third term.
While the bulk of Whitman’s campaign spending went to buy television ads that dominated the airwaves for most of 2010, the billionaire spent about $20 million on campaign consultants and staff, many of whom hailed from the campaigns of former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger or former Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain.
According to Monday’s filing, Whitman’s campaign paid $1.3 million to Mike Murphy, her chief strategist, at Bonaparte Films LLC. Whitman had invested in his production company before the campaign.
She paid nearly $1 million to her personal adviser and friend, Henry Gomez, who worked for her at eBay Inc. Jeff Randle, who was a campaign and political adviser to Schwarzenegger, received $550,000.
Brown’s campaign reported spending $29 million on TV and radio ads placed by a Georgia-based Democratic advertising firm, LUC Media, according to reports filed with the secretary of state’s office. Brown’s chief campaign consultant, Steve Glazer, was paid $235,000.
What Brown lacked in campaign consultants, he gained with outside political muscle. The Democrat was aided by at least $26 million in spending by outside groups, mostly labor unions.
Brown bucked national GOP momentum last fall when he handily defeated Whitman by 13 percentage points. He persuaded voters that the nation’s most populous state needed a seasoned public official, not a political novice, to step in and solve its financial troubles.
Whitman used her fortune on wall-to-wall advertising, private jets and six-figure consultants, allowing Brown to present a contrast with his message of government austerity. Whitman’s outsized spending allowed Democrats to craft a campaign message that she was trying to buy the office.
Other campaign finance reports filed Monday showed that more than $46 million was spent for and against a failed November ballot measure that would have suspended California’s landmark global warming law. Out-of-state oil companies and their supporters spent $10.5 million promoting Proposition 23, while opponents spent more than $36 million.
Voters defeated Proposition 23 by a margin of 61.6 percent to 38.4 percent.
(© 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)