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More focus is put on Meg Whitman's relationship with top advisor

July 12, 2010 | 11:34 am

Before Republican strategist Mike Murphy signed up with Meg Whitman's gubernatorial campaign, Whitman's top Republican rival, Steve Poizner, expected Murphy to join his team. So what changed?

It's hard to say. But Whitman did invest $1 million in Murphy's fledgling film company just before his apparent change of heart.

The Times first reported Whitman's investment in Murphy's "Tools Down! Productions" in March. In an article Monday morning, the New York Times points to the investment as an example of how "wealthy candidates might use their fortunes to manipulate the electoral process," and makes it clear that Team Poizner is still smarting from Murphy's snub.

Ironically, perhaps, it was an e-mail from Murphy that led Poizner to allege that Whitman was trying to bribe him out of the race by implying that Whitman would back his bid for U.S. Senate if he decided to switch races.

-- Anthony York in Sacramento

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