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Steve Lopez: Meg Whitman spent $50 for each vote she got. Is that an outrageous extravagance?

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/.a/6a00d8341c630a53ef013483a0868a970c-600wi

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/.a/6a00d8341c630a53ef0133f4150cbe970b-pi

If you want to find something to feel good about in Tuesday's election results, look to the fact that money isn't everything.

As of Oct. 16, according to the secretary of state's office, Meg Whitman spent almost $107 million on TV and radio advertising to Jerry Brown's $21 million.

She spent $11.7 million on campaign consultants to Brown's $167,000.

She spent $10.5 million on campaign literature and mailings to Brown's $2.5 million.

She spent $5.9 million on campaign worker salaries to Brown's $157,000.

She spent $2.3 million on office expenses to Brown's $132,000.

Total expenditures? Whitman spent six times as much, or $160 million -- $141 million of it her own -- to Brown's $24.8 million.

You'd think the former EBay exec would know a good deal when she sees one, but she ended up paying roughly $50 for each of her 3 million-plus votes, and got trounced.

Maybe it wasn't too bright, after all, to outspend Brown by more than six times while trying to cast herself as a cost-cutter and Brown as a big spender.

But did Whitman lose because voters were turned off by her outrageous extravagance at a time when unemployment is in double-digits? Or did she lose because she didn't have the goods on policy?

I'd say both things did her in, as did her cold-fish personality and the revelation that as a student, she had apparently skipped classes on both civics and suffrage, having gone decades without stepping inside a polling booth.

But I say Whitman would have done much better if she had explained how exactly she intended to fire 40,000 state employees while growing the economy, improving schools and slashing spending. If she'd made any of it seem even remotely realistic, she might even have won, no matter how much cash she set fire to.

Don't you think?

-- Steve Lopez

Photos: Meg Whitman and Jerry Brown. Credit: Los Angeles Times

 
Comments () | Archives (291)

Steve Lopez for president!

All elections are a complete waste of money that could be better spent elsewhere, as you have pointed out. I want my pizza.

You can't beat a democrat here unless you outspend him. The only people making this an issue are those like you. It must be nice to have unions supporting/probably coercing their members into voting for JB.

Yes, I do think.

I would have been more likely to vote for her if she just gave me 50 bucks instead of deluging us in awful commercials.

it;s a write off for her to bad she didn't get elected

The real reason Jerry Brown beat Meg Whitman is because she (Whitman) ignored the Black vote and over estimated Hispanic medias reach. She paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in Hispanic bilingual media while not realizing that Mexican Americans whom only speak Spanish are a very small percentage of registered voters in California for whatever reason. Despite our efforts she refused to place any African American newspaper or radio ads even though she could have pulled 10-20 percent of this vote by concentrating on social issues with the Black religious community which agrees with Republican "values". See our press release at kimberkimber.com. or see my facebook page Mark Kimber.

The real reason Jerry Brown beat Meg Whitman is because she (Whitman) ignored the Black vote and over estimated Hispanic medias reach. She paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in Hispanic bilingual media while not realizing that Mexican Americans whom only speak Spanish are a very small percentage of registered voters in California for whatever reason. Despite our efforts she refused to place any African American newspaper or radio ads even though she could have pulled 10-20 percent of this vote by concentrating on social issues with the Black religious community which agrees with Republican "values". See our press release at kimberkimber.com. or see my facebook page Mark Kimber.

Let alone, how could she expect Californians to have to live with that face for 4 years??

WHO is the spend-thrift Dem, and who is the TRUE Repub? Seems like these two got it @zz backwards, no?

80% of the votes Whitman received would have been received by her if she had spent $0. Therefore, she paid $250 apiece for the votes she was able to influence. On the other hand, Jerry Brown spent much more for his votes. His spending just came in the form of welfare and food stamps, etc. and hasn't been delivered yet. But all campaign spending comes from the same place: rich conservatives.

Jeez, Lopez, she lost. Give it a rest. Stop writing about politics and I'll start respecting you again.

Does Meg gets a tax break with her $150 millions?

To have wasted nearly $150 million of your own money trying to buy power must really hurt. Meg, we don't like you. Surprise!

She should have just sent me the $50. I still would never vote for her, but I'd have sent her a thank you note, and she'd have gotten more for her money than she did.

As anti-republican as I usually feel, she still could have gotten my vote for free if she'd had the intelligence to:
A - Re-affirm strong and permanent support for medical marijuana in CA. (Example - A promise that no state resources or state taxes would be spent prosecuting confirmed medical marijuana users, dispensaries, or growers.)
B - Endorse Prop 19. It's coming whether you like it or not, politicians, and the first one to wake up, show some courage, and jump on that issue in a positive way will ride it to power.


She could have endowed a foundation with her $160 million and did some good for people in need. Instead she blew that bundle pouring more negativity and cynicism into politics. What price vanity and egotism, Meg? Did you get your money's worth?

I want to hear when your newspaper is going to do something about the racism in marijuana enforcement.

Before the election, your editors claimed there was another way to keep the LAPD from arresting blacks at seven times the rate of whites for marijuana other than by passing Prop. 19.

Well now you got your wish. Prop. 19 failed and so the LAPD are still free to arrest blacks for marijuana at seven times the rate of whites.

What is your plan to stop them from doing that?

Or is such dramatic racial inequality something the LAT is willing to tolerate in the name of keeping marijuana illegal?

I didn't vote for Meg because someone who burns thru $140 mil of their own money is a little too desperate to be governor. What about being governor does she want THAT bad? Does she wanna control the state agenda just by buying the office? If someone said to you, "Hey the lotto is at $140 million," you'd probably want to go buy some tickets. Poof. Meg spent a big lotto jackpot and got zilch, and nothing feels better than sticking it to an ultra-rich, out-of-touch candidate who didn't even believe in the political process until recently.

It seems like she was gracious in defeat, but all of the points you raised in your piece about what $140 mil could have bought were great. Next time, gimme the 2 pizzas.

You ought to be praising Whitman. She could have been sipping martinis in Monacco during this election. Or hiding out like the rest of the state's idle rich. She is not going to be impacted by the billions we owe to the union pension funds. But she tried to make a difference and put up with horrendous abuse for doing so. So instead of a successful businesswoman who spent her own money, we have a governor who owes his election to the SEIU and every other big union. You are about to see the real meaning of "outrageous extravagance" --played out with your money.

Great article Steve Lopez. And Meg desperately needed a PR person. For example, about her housekeeper, Meg should have said “I love my housekeeper of nine years, and I want her to have every opportunity to obtain legal citizenship in the United States. I didn’t know she was here illegally, but she must have remained so out of fear of deportation. But we’re a nation built on immigrants and I would like to help her all I can.” Instead, Meg fired her, and then announced she wants her deported. That's cold and heartless.

Meg Whitman: Ha-Ha!

Sadly, I doubt she'll miss the $140 million she spent.

What many people don't realize or don't comprehend, including Mr. Lopez, is the outrages amounts of money involved in politics. Every politician is heavily indepted to lobbyist, special interest groups and unions that pour multi-millions of dollars in their campaigns. when elected these politicians repay their donos by pushing through legislation or bills that only benefit these groups not the general public. Greed and the color of money now rule over the will of the people. when someone coms along that says that they will not be indepted to these goups they have to do so with enough money to fight powerful groups with loads of cash. Meg Whitman may not have been the answer but she had no choice but to invest loads of her own money rather than take dirty money from special intrest groups. what California will see is more of the same that increases our debt and strangles any moves forward with true reform. Come on Mr. Lopez if your going to go after what Meg spent her wasted money on why not do an article on what the special interests just bought through Brown with their millions.

I don't know why they spend so much money. People are going to vote how they're gonna vote. No badly produced commercial or huge mail flier is going to change someones opinion. The news and newspapers and what light they present the candidates in, the dirt they decide to dig up on the candidates, and ultimately the candidates position is what sways people's votes one way or the other. This article is a prime example of that. "she spent so much money blah blah, skipped school blah blah." They're still presenting her in a negative light compared to Governor Jerry Brown, who passed a law sealing his own records when he was governor the first time so nobody will ever know the shady stuff he did. Good Job on still swaying peoples opinions even after the election Steve.

At least she spent that money helping out the printing and crappy commercial businesses and the people who put the stages up at her rallies, and the people she bought the balloons and confetti from (that she never got to use).

I don't know why they spend so much money. People are going to vote how they're gonna vote. No badly produced commercial or huge mail flier is going to change someones opinion. The news and newspapers and what light they present the candidates in, the dirt they decide to dig up on the candidates, and ultimately the candidates position is what sways people's votes one way or the other. This article is a prime example of that. "she spent so much money blah blah, skipped school blah blah." They're still presenting her in a negative light compared to Governor Jerry Brown, who passed a law sealing his own records when he was governor the first time so nobody will ever know the shady stuff he did. Good Job on still swaying peoples opinions even after the election Steve.

At least she spent that money helping out the printing and crappy commercial businesses and the people who put the stages up at her rallies, and the people she bought the balloons and confetti from (that she never got to use).

She could have been governor of New Jersey for that kind of money.

"But I say Whitman would have done much better if she had explained how exactly she intended to fire 40,000 state employees while growing the economy, improving schools and slashing spending. If she'd made any of it seem even remotely realistic, she might even have won, no matter how much cash she set fire to."

Why don't you ask Jerry Brown what HIS PLAN is? Hahaha. Typical Lopez. Living in a dream. Sanctuary cities won't be forever, Steve.

I will give you this much: Whitman was definitely not a true Conservative choice.

 
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