Brown Keeps his Powder Dry as Whitman Keeps Spending

August 16, 2010 | Last updated: July 31, 2020

Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman tried to quietly contribute an additional $13 million to her California governor’s campaign on Friday afternoon — but the media, excited by the story that Whitman will likely soon surpass Mayor Michael Bloomberg (R-N.Y.) as the most prolific personal campaign spender in history, quickly seized upon the campaign filing.

Whitman’s Democratic opponent, former governor Jerry Brown, pointed to the donation as evidence that the Whitman campaign is panicked about being neck and neck in the polls. Brown, who’s raised a mere $23 million compared to Whitman’s personal investment of $104 million, has spent next to nothing on his campaign thus far. He faced criticism for his lethargic spending pace earlier in the summer but is coming off increasingly as a tactical genius.

Keeping his own limited resources intact, Brown’s been relying on independent expenditures from unions and other groups to keep him in the race. And once Labor Day rolls around, it looks like he’ll have enough cash to throw around when the electorate comes back from summer vacation and tunes into the race.