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GOP gubernatorial candidate Whitman launches radio ads

The former Ebay executive's campaign advertises on stations across the state. She has already given $19 million to her campaign to woo Republican voters.

September 23, 2009|Cathleen Decker

Republican Meg Whitman on Tuesday underscored the advantage of wealth in the 2010 race for governor, launching paid advertisements for her campaign nine months before GOP voters will determine their nominee.

The introductory ads, which the campaign said were running on radio stations across California, highlight Whitman's experience at several well-known firms.

Among them is EBay, where she was chief executive until two years ago.

"We need to reinvent California, and that reinvention starts at the top," says the ad.

Whitman, who already has put $19 million into her campaign, appeared before supporters Tuesday at a sweltering open-air gathering in Fullerton.

She said she was formally opening the campaign, although it has been underway in earnest since February, when she first announced she was running.

Her remarks were a replay of speeches she has made since then -- she lamented regulation and taxes that she said strangle job creation in California, and she demanded reforms to improve the state's public schools.

"Californians are tapped out," she said. "They have no more money to give to Sacramento or Washington, for that matter."

She repeated her February vow to cut at least $15 billion in state spending and to eliminate redundant government agencies, and said she would lay off 40,000 state employees.

But, as then, she offered no specific cuts nor did she suggest which agencies or employees she would target.

"There will be time to identify all that," said spokeswoman Sarah Pompei.

Whitman's re-announcement drew a pointed rebuke from the gubernatorial campaign of state Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner, who, like Whitman, has plenty of cash to invest in the race.

"The Whitman CEO strategy of writing big checks and massive layoffs is not going to rebuild California," said Jarrod Agen, Poizner's spokesman.

In her first bid for elective office, Whitman has relied on her vast personal wealth to build a large campaign organization.

Going forward, it gives her an immediate ability to, if necessary, finance the television ads that sway California voters.

Poizner, too, has personal funds to put into the race. The former Silicon Valley entrepreneur has given $4.2 million to his campaign so far.

A third Republican, former Rep. Tom Campbell, also is seeking the party's nomination.

Among Democrats, the major candidates include San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom and former Gov. Jerry Brown, now attorney general. Brown has not formally announced his intentions.

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cathleen.decker@latimes.com

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