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Ad Wars: Meg Whitman Hits the Airwaves in CA GOV

10:45 AM, Feb 5, 2010 • By MARY KATHARINE HAM
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Meg Whitman, former eBay CEO running for California governor, was first to go on TV with an ad this week. She's spent $19 million in the race so far, mostly on staff and a string of statewide radio spots:

Documents filed with the secretary of state's office showed the former eBay chief executive is spending generously to bankroll a large campaign team, run a series of statewide radio ads introducing herself to voters and hold fundraisers that netted $10 million in contributions.

Corporate titans were among Whitman's biggest donors, including $25,900 each — the maximum donation per election cycle — from Cisco Systems chief executive John Chambers, eBay chief executive John Donahoe and a host of venture capitalists and hedge fund managers. Whitman took in more than $850,000 from out-of-state donors in the second half of the year as she crisscrossed the country hosting fundraisers from Florida to New York.

Whitman also gave $19 million of her own money to her campaign in 2009. She ended the year with $10.5 million cash on hand but has since given herself another $20 million from her personal fortune.

Her first TV ad shows the candidate relaxed and her tone soft— "I think" we can do it; my business acumen is "a bit" of what California needs.

Read Fred Barnes on Meg Whitman's candidacy, from May of last year.

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