Former eBay executive and current Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman is spending an average of $4 on advertising, which may not sound like much until you find out the time frame is per second. And her first test, the Republican primary, isn’t until 6/8/10.
According to a report in the San Jose Mercury News, she has spent $27.2M through the middle of March since the new year began, becoming an unavoidable presence on both television and radio. Her Republican primary opponent, Steve Poizner, is already down some 50 points in the polls.
Poizner is currently sitting on a warchest that might have qualified him as well-funded in most other years. He has $14M, but Whitman has vowed to use up to $150M of her own money.
She has also edged past likely Democratic nominee, former California Gov. Jerry Brown, who is also letting her have the airwaves to herself for now.
The positive poll results speak for themselves, but the exposure comes with risk of over-exposure. One 73-year-old Republican voter told SJMN, “I’m so sick of those ads that I just push the mute button. Do they think I’m an idiot or something? I get the message. Why doesn’t she put that money into our schools where it will do some good?”
It could also become a potent talking point for Brown later, who can point out in his own advertising that his face is less seen and voice less heard, but then again, he is not attempting to buy the election, but rather is trying to win on the merits of his candidacy.
Whitman’s campaign is said to be unapologetic. It wants its message out there, has the money to get it out there, and that’s what it is planning to continue doing.
RBR-TVBR observation: By herself Whitman is turning California into a battleground state. Look for Poizner to unleash his warchest as June approaches, and look for Brown to get help from the Democratic Governors Association and other national groups as November approaches.