Whitman advisors unlikely to take part in traditional campaign rehash
Meg Whitman’s campaign for governor set a national spending record, and now looks like it will reach another milestone -– becoming the first campaign not to participate in a traditional postelection conference where winning and losing strategists dissect their work and spill secrets about the machinations behind the scenes.
The conference has been held by UC Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies after every gubernatorial contest since 1990. “The 2010 Governor's Race: The Inside Story” is scheduled for Jan. 21-22.
“I don’t think we’re going to go,” said Rob Stutzman, a senior adviser to Whitman. “It’s self-indulgent, by self-important scholars and journalists. It is what it is.”
Stutzman said Whitman’s chief strategist Mike Murphy will definitely not attend, and he and other senior staffers don’t feel a need to participate.
Organizers, who could not recall a prior campaign declining to participate in the conference, said they had not heard back from any Whitman representatives and remained hopeful that someone would attend.
Two representatives from Gov.-elect Jerry Brown’s team will participate -– campaign manager Steve Glazer and senior adviser Joe Trippi.
It’s an easier decision for Brown’s strategists -– they get to take a victory lap and crow about how their frugal, lean campaign ended up crushing Whitman, despite being outspent more than 4 to 1.
But in years past, losers have shown up to face their fellow strategists, professors and journalists. If Team Whitman did attend, its members would surely be grilled about how they managed a landslide loss despite the most favorable political climate for Republicans since 1994.
Virtually all of the billionaire’s consultants have refused to speak publicly about the loss; the few who had opened up blamed it on California’s Democratic tilt.
-- Seema Mehta in Los Angeles
Photo: Meg Whitman concedes the race at her election-night party in Los Angeles on Nov. 2. Credit: Chris Carlson / Associated Press