The election for California’s next governor is still months away, but the GOP’s top candidate has already racked up a hefty campaign tab. Meg Whitman, the ex-eBay CEO, spent nearly $100 million through the end of June. The Democrats’ candidate, lifelong California politician Jerry Brown, has spent less than $700,000 in the same period.
Whitman has another $10.8 million left in reserves, but has set aside $91.1 million of her own money for the campaign. Brown’s got $23 million still to spend. The Sacramento Bee reports that Brown and Whitman are neck and neck in the polls.
It’s kind of sick, but it’s definitely not unusual. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg famously spent $109 million of his own money to win his third term. A November report from the Center for Responsive Politics showed that 44 percent of those in Congress are millionaires, even though millionaires are just one percent of the general American population. Nearly 300 members of the 535 Senate and House of Representatives seats are filled by millionaires. Not only do politicians start their tenures off richer than most of America, they get richer once they’re in office.
Unfortunately, neither Brown nor Whitman give progressives and people of color much to root for. Try as she might to ingratiate herself to California’s Latino population, Whitman’s positions on immigration, education and healthcare leave much to be desired. Most days Whitman has trouble deciding how she feels about Latinos—her primary against Steve Poizner turned into a let’s-hate-on-immigrants contest, filled with duels over the 20-year-old anti-immigrant bill Prop 187 and Arizona’s SB 1070.
For the record, if elected governor, Whitman would call for more National Guard to be sent to the border (too bad Schwarzenegger beat her to that); try to prohibit municipalities from setting up sanctuary cities; even block undocumented immigrants from enrolling in any public institution of higher education.
In May, Jerry Brown, currently serving as California attorney general, shut down a request from San Francisco’s sheriff to let the city opt out of Secure Communities, a federal program being rolled out in hundreds of U.S. cities that grabs the fingerprints of everyone arrested by local law enforcement and matches them against ICE databases.
Election Day in California is November 2.