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Campaign Notebook: Money reports detail Whitman’s record spending

This week was money week in California, and once again we were reminded of one central fact of this govenror’s race: Meg Whitman is rich.

And she’s not afraid to spend her money. Whitman likes to tell people she won’t owe anybody anything if she is elected governor. We’d like to ad one caveat – she may owe her husband an explanation.

So far, Whitman has spent $91 million of her own money. And during the reporting period, which spans from May 23 to June 30, Whitman spent$531,378 per day.

Just to put that in some perspective: Democrat Jerry Brown has spent a little more than $377,000 total since Jan. 1. Though to be fair, labor groups did spend about $4 million on Brown’s behalf from the end of May through June.

Whitman has now spent $99.7 million on her race since she first formed an exploratory committee in 2009. Since January, Whitman has spent more that $80 million on her campaign.

Meanwhile, Jerry Brown is content to let his friends pick up the tab for the political commercials this summer. A coalition of labor groups and wealthy Democratic donors has raised more than $6.2 million to boost Jerry Brown’s gubernatorial campaign.

The coalition, dubbed California Working Families 2010, spent more than $3.9 million from May 23 through June 30. The group spent the money on ads blasting Republican Meg Whitman in three different television spots. The group originally mobilized to defend Brown while Whitman maintains a visible TV presence this summer.

A spokesman for the group, Roger Salazar, said it had raised an additional $1.9 million in July, which came after the deadline for the reports released Monday. That money is not reflected in the $6.2 million reported Monday. The July donations included $750,000 from the California Teachers Assn., $100,000 from Ron Burkle and $50,000 from Los Angeles businessman and philanthropist Eli Broad.

This week, another union is expected to get into the act. The Association of Federal, State and Municiple Employees (AFSCME) is expected to launch ads later this week attacking Whitman. AFSCME spokesman Willie Pelote said the union will spend up to $2 million on the ads. Media buyers have confirmed AFSCME has booked about a week’s worth of time beginning on Friday.

The group’s spending dwarfs Brown’s own campaign outlay. Brown reported that his campaign has spent just $377,000 since Jan. 1.

BROKAW TO REFEREE BROWN/WHITMAN SCRUM

Tom Brokaw said Wednesday he is paying “very close attention” to California’s governor’s race, and is looking forward to moderating one of the debates between Meg Whitman and Jerry Brown.

NBC announced Wednesday that  Brokaw would moderate an Oct. 12 debate between Whitman and Brown at Dominican University in Marin County.

“I’ve known Jerry Brown since 1966,” Brokaw said. “I remember when he told me he was going to run for the junior college board of trustees. And I’ve also known Ms. Whitman for a long time.”

Brokaw also moderated a Democratic presidential debate in 1992 that included Brown.

Brokaw said he sees the debate as a chance to “cut through all the paid stuff and get at the essential truths. It’s really about the future of California and getting at the issues that are before the voters – the financial difficulties that the state finds itself in, whether the California magic has lost some of its luster. The state is poised to go into a whole new era facing some very hard decisions. “

The debate is one of two that both Whitman and Brown have pledged to attend.

Brokaw said he has some ideas about how to knock Brown and Whitman off their prepared talking points, but wasn’t offering up any tricks of the trade just yet.

“Why would I tip my hand about that?” he asked.


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