Wannabe Governor Meg Whitman tossed another $20 million into the pot like so much couch dust this week, leaving Republican primary rival Steve Poizner to whine about her per unit Return On Investment.
“Twenty million dollars bought Meg 45 percent of likely Republican voters in a January poll,” a Poizner flack sniped, pointing to the first $20 million personal check Her Megness wrote to her campaign. “That’s (sic) means Meg has so far spent $444,444.44 for every percentage point.”
Yeah, and…so what? It’s not like Republicans have something against rich people spending their own money.
Team Poizner also recycled the observation, by blogger Bill Bradley, that the $40 million eMeg generously donated to herself, six months before the primary, already matches what Governor Al Checchi, the previous record holder, self-funded during his entire, miserably failed 1998 bid for the Democratic nomination.
True that, but again, what’s the point?
The bottom line is that Whitman’s lavish spending has bought her two, very valuable things in the race: 1) she’s clearly established herself as the front-runner, if not yet the GOP presumptive nominee, and; 2) she’s accomplished this largely with an under-the-radar radio campaign that has managed to avoid triggering a she’s-trying-to-buy-the-election backlash, at least outside of insider circles.
For Whitman, $40 million is chump change, a tiny sliver of her billionaire fortune; if it’s working, why not keep working it? Poizner made a brief splash last month by fronting a mere $15 Large of his own dough, but given his below-par outside fund-raising to date, Smokestack Steve will have to go to the wallet for a lot more than that to catch Monoxide Meg.
Brown-Coakley redux: With no exit polls from the big Massachusetts Senate race – who can afford them these days? – we’re unfortunately left with a wide-open bazaar of conflicting, unconfirmable theories about what happened, none of them based on data.
That said, the most interesting take we’ve seen comes from Democratic pollster Mark Mellman, who advances the case that Republican Scott Brown’s late surge past rival and erstwhile front-runner Martha Coakley coincided with the release and publication of two robo-polls (so-called IVR polls, which auto-dial respondents) and which apparently triggered the flood of web fund-raising that boosted Brown. Mellman, writing in The Hill (HT to Gale Kaufman for the link):
(W)ithout the close polls, the circumstances that made Republican victory possible would have been insufficient to bring it about. The polls were the spark that ignited the dry kindling on the forest floor. Without the spark provided by the polls, though, there would have been no conflagration.
Is there anything wrong with polls influencing elections? If the polls were accurate reflections of reality, it’s hard to complain. Though we will never know for sure, my own strong sense is that these two IVR auto-dial polls significantly overstated Brown’s support when they were completed.
Another chewy take-out: the Washpost’s Chris Cillizza at “The Fix” lists five “myths” about the Bay State election: 1) Brown didn’t win, Coakley lost it; 2) Brown’s win means health care is dead; 3) Dems are headed for oblivion in mid-terms; 4) Obama’s brand is dead; 5) Mass. Voters won’t elect a woman. It’s here.
The daily fix for our T-Ridge jones: Anthony York, over at “California Politics,” the online collaboration between the LAT and Capitol Weekly, posted a juicy little report on the spat between Lite Gov. Wannabe Abel Maldonado and Assemblyman Pedro Nava over Calbuzz’s idée fixe, the Tranquillon Ridge offshore oil project.
Lobbying in print for his confirmation. state Senator Maldo reminded York of his past consistent opposition to the project, insisting the offshore issue should not derail his appointment:
“I’ve voted against the proposal three times,” Maldonado said. “As lieutenant governor, I would take each issue as it comes before the commission, but I don’t know how much clearer I can be on that issue.”
Maldo also ripped Assemblyman and AG Wannabe Nava (D-Tree Hugger), who told Calbuzz earlier that he believes the Republican senator pledged support for T-Ridge before Schwarzmuscle nominated him for lite gov.
“It’s so crazy,” said Maldonado. “No deal has been cut.” Nava is “spreading stories that have absolutely no basis in fact.”
When asked about Maldonado’s comments, Nava said, “It’s hard for me to believe there wasn’t an agreement reached” between Schwarzenegger and Maldonado. “Let him sign a written public pledge that he will vote no on T-Ridge. Then I might feel some comfort.”
This just in: T-Ridge foes were caught by surprise when the non-partisan Legislative Analyst’s Office recommended Thursday that the Legislature approve the project. While it’s a fairly tepid endorsement, coming after a laundry list of policy criticisms of the proposal, it’s an endorsement nonetheless, and from a very influential source:
While the Legislature will want to evaluate the proposal accounting for the policy concerns that have been raised, it should weigh these concerns against the opportunity to gain much-needed revenues for the General Fund. Analyzing the potential risks and trade-offs, we find, on balance, that the Tranquillon Ridge proposal merits legislative approval.
Jerry’s time warp: Crusty the General’s offhand reference to Mike Curb this week was just the latest evidence that he’s in danger of being stuck in a pre-1980s time warp. Here’s the Calbuzz Next Ten list of folks we look for Brown to reference in coming weeks:
1-Spin & Marty
7-Ozzie Nelson Dr. Irwin Corey
9-Earl “The Pearl” Monroe
Today’s sign the end of civilization is near: Weird hair showdown pits Donald Trump vs. Lady Gaga.