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Steve Poizner tells backers: Don’t leave us!

February 16, 2010 | 12:01 pm

Steve Poizner's campaign for governor, hoping to counteract a growing sense that Meg Whitman is going to be the Republican nominee, is sending supporters a letter that in essence asks them not to defect. In the letter, Poizner campaign chairman Jim Brulte says Whitman operatives have been contacting Poizner's backers with a not-so-subtle sales pitch: "We will remember you if you fail to join us."

Brulte goes on to make the case that a primary will make the Republican candidate stronger in the general election: "So the next time you hear the Whitman campaign assert that a Republican primary will only help Jerry Brown, recognize the attempts for what they are -- a desire to win for free what others like Ronald Reagan and George Deukmejian have had to compete hard to earn."

-- Michael Rothfeld in Sacramento