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Meg Whitman, Jerry Brown backers launch political arms race

February 12, 2010 |  7:16 am
Spooked by the vast personal wealth of Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman, Democrats this week launched three independent campaign committees, pledging millions to fight for Jerry Brown's bid.

Thursday, the Whitman campaign sent out a fundraising plea from former Gov. Pete Wilson, using the launch of the Democratic committees as a reason for Whitman donors to pony up to her campaign.

"Jerry Brown and his allies are beginning the General Election today. We must respond," Wilson wrote in the letter. "We are stepping up our fundraising efforts, targeting our large network of supporters to help us defeat the Democrats. Already, our supporters are responding with contributions to fight back the Democrats' onslaught. I urge you to assist this vital effort."

Democrats, who have been waiting for weeks to engage Whitman but have been stymied by Brown's refusal to announce his candidacy for governor, were all too eager to respond in kind.

Dan Newman, a spokesman for one of the new Democratic committees, Level the Playing Field, said Whitman was "acting like Meg Antoinette." "At this point she’s received even fewer votes than she’s cast while stubbornly refusing to answer important questions about her record. ... She can’t crown herself governor by ignoring real issues and spending $200 million."

Even if Brown won't announce his candidacy, Democrats made clear this week that the campaign for governor is well underway.

-- Anthony York in Sacramento

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