Poll: Whitman Takes Early Lead

Former eBay CEO edging out Republican rivals in governor's race

by Auctiva.com staff writer
- Oct 13, 2009

Meg Whitman is in a tight contest with Tom Campbell for the Republican nomination for California's 2010 gubernatorial election.

A recent Field Poll shows Whitman, former eBay CEO, inching ahead with 22 percent of the Republican primary vote. Campbell, a former California congressman, has 20 percent of votes. Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner comes in a distant third with 9 percent. However, half of voters remain undecided.

California Attorney General and former Gov. Jerry Brown is the top Democratic candidate with 47 percent of democrats pledging their votes, according to the poll.

The close race shows that Whitman is "gaining ground," says Sarah Pompei, Whitman's spokeswoman. "Californians are supporting Meg because she's a successful business person with real-world experience creating jobs."

In the past weeks, Whitman has been heavily criticized for not voting for more than 20 years. The Sacramento Bee reported being unable to find a voter registration record for Whitman prior to September 2002, and that she did not vote for 28 years. Whitman says she had been a decline-to-state voter since 1998. She registered as a Republican two years ago, according to news reports.

Whitman says she did not register to vote until she was 46 because she was focused on her family and frequently moved, but says she knows that's no excuse.

"My voting record, my registration record is unacceptable," she notes.

A 2004 contribution to Sen. Barbara Boxer, one of the most liberal Democrats in California, also caused some to criticize Whitman. According to news reports, Whitman called Boxer "a courageous leader and friend of California's technology sector," and signed an open letter to support the senator as she sought re-election.

Poizner, one of Whitman's rivals for the Republican nomination, said both issues would "disqualify" her with Republicans.

"There's never been a person elected governor anywhere in this country with a voting record like hers," Poizner says. "I mean, 28 years of not voting at all, not even being registered to vote—meaning she had no intention of even voting—is something that will make her really not qualified."

Boxer recently endorsed Whitman, calling her a "darned good" Republican, as did former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

TV ads could give Whitman a bigger boost among Republicans, notes Field Poll Director Mark DiCamillo.

"For voters in California, that's how they learn who the candidates are," he says.

Whitman reportedly spent $6 million on her campaign during the first half of 2009. In July, she put $15 million of her own money into her campaign funds, according to news reports. Campbell reportedly has $300,000 for his campaign, while Poizner has $4.2 million to spend.

About the Author

Auctiva staff writers constantly monitor trends and best practices of those selling on eBay and elsewhere online. They attend relevant training seminars and trade shows and regularly discuss the market with PowerSellers and other market experts.

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