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Meg Whitman launches ads in campaign for governor

September 22, 2009 |  3:00 pm

Republican Meg Whitman underscored the advantage of wealth in the 2010 race for governor, launching paid advertisements today for her campaign nine months before GOP voters will determine their nominee.

The introductory ads, which the campaign said were running on radio stations across California, highlight Whitman’s experience at several well-known firms. Among them is EBay, where she was chief executive until two years ago.

“We need to reinvent California, and that reinvention starts at the top,” says the ad.

Whitman, who has put $19 million into her campaign, appeared before supporters today at a sweltering, open-air gathering in Fullerton. She said she was formally opening the campaign, although it has been underway in earnest since February, when she first announced she was running.

Her remarks today were a replay of speeches she has made since the spring. She lamented regulation and taxes that she said strangle job-creation in California and demanded reforms to improve the state’s public schools.

She repeated her February vow to cut at least $15 billion in state spending and to eliminate redundant government agencies, and said she would lay off 40,000 state employees. But, as then, she offered no specific cuts and did not suggest which agencies or employees she would target.
“There will be time to identify all that,” said spokeswoman Sarah Pompei.
Whitman’s re-announcement drew a pointed rebuke from the campaign of state Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner, who is also running for governor and, like Whitman, has plenty of personal cash to invest in the race.
“The Whitman CEO strategy of writing big checks and massive layoffs is not going to rebuild California,” said Jarrod Agen, Poizner’s spokesman.

A third Republican, former Rep. Tom Campbell, also is seeking the Republican nomination. Among Democrats, the major candidates include San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom and Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown. Brown, a former governor, has not formally announced his intentions.

-- Cathleen Decker