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Posts Tagged ‘Bill Carrick’



Why Gender Won’t Help GOP Women Candidates

Monday, June 21st, 2010

Published jointly today in the Los Angeles Times

The dual nomination of Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina for governor and U.S. Senate in the state Republican primary was an historic event, but the candidates’ gender is unlikely to help them much in the November election.

The two became the first women ever chosen at the top of a GOP ticket in California, and their victories came amid much media discussion nationally about the breakthrough of “Republican feminists” and Sarah Palin’s excited forecast about the ascendancy of conservative “mamma grizzlies.”

However, a look back at California elections involving women candidates suggests that gender  won’t be a major factor in whether Fiorina or Whitman win or lose. Analysis of past voting data shows that:

– Party matters far more than gender in a general election.
– Gender matters most among independent women voters
– Neither Democratic nor independent women voters are likely to favor a candidate who is not pro-choice.

“Party, party, party,” answered Mark DiCamillo, director of the esteemed Field Poll, when asked if a candidates’ gender or partisan identification is more important in a general election.

“If you had to ask just one question that would predict how someone would vote, you’d want to ask their party,” he said.

Democratic consultant Bill Carrick, the chief strategist for Dianne Feinstein in 1990, when she became the first woman in California to win a major party’s nomination for governor, agreed:

“There’s no doubt that in candidate races the first and most salient factor in who you vote for is what political party do you belong to,” said Carrick, who also managed Feinstein’s historic campaign in 1992, when she and Barbara Boxer became the first female candidates to win a top office in the state, in what was dubbed the “Year of the Woman.”

In a late October Field Poll of the 1990 governor’s race, then-Republican Senator Pete Wilson led Feinstein, the former longtime mayor of San Francisco, by 47-39%, with 14% for others or undecided. At the time, he not only led 48-36% among men, who comprised 48 % of the electorate, but also 46-40% among women, who represented 52% of all voters.

At the time, Feinstein enjoyed relatively modest support within her own party, leading only 62-24% among Democrats. Wilson by contrast, led 76-12% among Republicans.

Days later, Wilson won the election 49-46%, as Feinstein gained considerable ground in the final days of the campaign; while there was no reliable exit poll on the race, it appears that many Democrats (a disproportionate number of whom are women), who had earlier held back, broke for their party’s candidate in the end.

Statistical support for that conclusion may be found in Los Angeles Times exit polling of the governor’s race four years later.

State Treasurer Kathleen Brown – the weakest Democratic candidate for governor in recent history – won 78% of her party’s vote in a bid against incumbent Gov. Pete Wilson, according to the survey. If Brown captured nearly eight in 10 Democrats in winning only 41% of the overall vote in 1994, it’s certain that Feinstein won at least as many with her stronger statewide performance four years earlier.

The 1994 Kathleen Brown-Pete Wilson race and the Feinstein-Michael Huffington Senate race the same year also offer clues about the relationship of party, gender and the abortion issue.

The pro-choice Wilson beat pro-choice Brown statewide by a resounding 55-41%. According to the Times exit poll, Wilson carried men 58-38% and women 52-43%, meaning Brown did somewhat better with women than with men.

But the numbers show that nearly all of the gender difference is explained by party.

Wilson won Republican men and women by 91-6% each and also carried independents: 57-34% among men and 54-39% among women; as she did among Democrats, Brown did somewhat better among independent women than she did with independent men.

Independents represented only about 16% of the electorate in 1994 (they are about 20% today). Brown’s pick-up of overall women voters was based on winning Democrats 78-19%, in a year when Democrats accounted for more than 4 in 10 voters (Democrats are now 44% of registered voters) and the party’s voting ranks included considerably more women than men.

The same year, Feinstein barely beat Huffington, 47-45%. A key difference between Kathleen Brown and Feinstein in 1994, however, was that the Senator attracted larger numbers of independent women and even made some inroads among Republican women,

Like Wilson, Huffington was pro-choice. Feinstein won 83% of Democratic men and 84% of women Democrats, while Huffington carried 83% of GOP men but just 75% of the party’s women. She won independent women, 51-36%, while independent men favored him 44-39%.

So Feinstein ran stronger with women voters than men, both among Republicans and independents – even though both candidates were pro-choice. This shows that it’s possible for a Democratic woman to pull some votes from the opposite party and from independents based on gender, in a race where abortion rights are not a determinative factor.

The 2010 Senate race pits the strongly pro-life Fiorina against the fiercely pro-choice Boxer. Since both are women, gender is likely to play even less of a role than usual. And Fiorina will have a tough battle,  as no pro-life candidate has won at the top of the ticket (president, governor or senator) in California since 1988, when George Bush beat Michael Dukakis.

The Whitman-Brown race is a different matter. “For a socially moderate, pro-choice woman like Meg Whitman, there’s some segment of the electorate that will take a closer look at her than they would if it were a white male with the same positions on the issues,” said political consultant Garry South, who guided Democrat Gray Davis to his gubernatorial victory in 1998 1994.

Running against the pro-choice Jerry Brown, however, Whitman will likely find it difficult to woo Democratic women voters to her side, just as Kathleen Brown could not lure Republican women away from Wilson in 1994. The Feinstein-Huffington race suggests, however, that Whitman’s gender could help her among independent women who are not aligned with Democratic positions on other issues.

The single greatest uncertainty in the governor’s race, however, may not be a function of gender or party, but of money. Said South, noting Whitman’s prediction of how much of her personal fortune she may spend: “There’s no playbook for somebody who’s going to spend $150 million.”

The Secret Ads eMeg & Steve Don’t Want You to See

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

As Meg Whitman lobbed yet another stink bomb at Steve Poizner, Calbuzz rang up our friend Bill Carrick, the noted long distance runner who moonlights as a Democratic media consultant, to ask what he thinks of the escalating air war between eMeg and the Commish.

“I’ve had the alarming revelation that we have two dangerous left-wingers running in the Republican primary for governor,” he said. “I can barely sleep at night.”

With Carrick’s blinding insight fresh in our minds, we contacted sources close to our imagination to discover the secret plans of both campaigns for the final month of the race. Here’s how we see things playing out:

May 14 – Poizner launches a tough new weekend attack on immigration:

There are five million, border busting illegal immigrants in California.
Over half work at Meg Whitman’s house.

eMeg counter-punches hard:

Like goat meat in your tacos?
Then you’ll love Steve Poizner as governor.

May 18 – With three weeks left before the primary, Whitman consultant Mike Murphy rolls out a daring new theme, hammering Meg’s rival with a big swing on cultural values:

Left-winger Steve Poizner: Ever seen him in the same room as Castro?

After a quickly assembled, two-hour emergency focus group, Team Steve media strategist Stuart Stephens pulls an all-nighter producing a new spot to answer the assault:

Meg Whitman: The frappuccino-sucking, NPR-supporting, Bernie Sanders-loving, Lacoste-wearing East Coast elitist who Californians just can’t trust.

May 25 – eMeg’s tracking poll shows Steve still vulnerable on abortion, and her advisers take a huge gamble in airing a positive spot:

Meg Whitman has ALWAYS believed in the Immaculate Conception. The waffling Steve Poizner? Not so much.

Armed with fresh poll data micro-analyzing micro-targeted questions on the pro-life issue, Camp Poizner doubles down on their negative track:

Know what commie Meg Whitman and the Red Chinese have in common?
Just Google “same sex abortion” on your home computer.

June 1 – One week before the election, both candidates return to the bread-and-butter issue of taxes in making their closing arguments, as the Commish unveils a bold Prop. 13 message:

Ever wonder why Meg Whitman won’t tell us who killed Howard Jarvis? Hmmmm

eMeg fires back fiercely:

There’s only one big-spending corrupt Republican insider who wants to drive  old folks from their homes and pick the carrion from the bones of our seniors: Say hello to Steve Poizner, grandma.

I’m Meg Whitman, and I approved this message.

June 9 - Final returns show that Whitman and Poizner win only 12 votes apiece, as most Republicans stay home and those who don’t cast write-in ballots for the late Evelle Younger.

A few hours later, Arnold Schwarzenegger issues an executive order proclaiming himself Governor for Life, announcing the move in a brief statement: “I’m baaack.”

Let Checchi be Checchi: When we saw that former Northwest Airlines co-chairman and 1998 candidate for governor Al Checchi has resurfaced at the San Francisco Chronicle, and read with interest his essay on political reform posted on Carla Marinucci’s blog, we couldn’t resist tweaking Al, who had written:

Only the national media has (sic) the infrastructure and reach to provide a national forum for catalyzing change. There is a unique opportunity for a media outlet to provide that forum, assume a leadership position within and for the industry, and provide a vital service to the American people and the country.

So we asked him: What are you going to do about it? Here’s his reply:

If I were younger, I would buy CNN and repurpose it.

1.  Provide the public a source of comprehensive, independent, and unbiased information about the substance of the critical issues that we face and the range of policy options available to address them.

2.  Employ public polling and new media to gauge public opinion and use the network to amplify the general public’s position on the issues to facilitate the building of national consensus.

3.  Provide similarly unbiased information to the public about the experience, character, qualifications, and positions of the people who stand for public office to improve the calibre of people to whom we cede political power.

In other words, I would get back to the basics of a comprehensive journalism that informs, educates, and provides a vital and constructive service to a Democratic society.

Since I am no longer young, I must content myself with half a loaf and try to develop programming and persuade a major media outlet to broadcast it.

Thanks, Al. No one ever called us “a major media outlet” before.

P.S. Checchi’s best one liner re. Meg Whitman’s business experience as a credential for governor:  She’s just  “a marketing person who ran an electronic auction house.”

With Apologies to TMZ


4 Weeks to Go: True Lies, New Poll, Burton Redux

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

Franklin Roosevelt famously said that, “Repetition does not transform a lie into a truth.” But then, he didn’t live long enough to see California’s 2010 Republican primary for governor.

Battering each other on the airwaves with one month to go before the election, GOP wannabe govs Meg Whitman and Steve Poizner seem far more determined to prove the wisdom of the words of V.I. Lenin:  “A lie told often enough becomes the truth.”

In recent weeks Stevie Wonder has stretched the truth in attacking eMeg on issues from health care to immigration, while she has simply flat-out lied about his budget stewardship at the Department of Insurance budget and distorted his stance on Prop. 13 .

As a political matter, Michael Rothfeld rightly noted in the LAT that the large number of demonstrably untrue charges flying in the race may be traced to the fact that Poizner and Whitman are both basically moderates, furiously reinventing themselves  as hard-core conservatives  (for the record Rothfeld also reported that, “Although both campaigns exaggerate, Whitman’s ads appear to stretch the truth more”).

As a journalistic matter, what’s most intriguing about the fusillades of falsehoods is that neither candidate has suffered sanctions for her or his prevarications – a sad state of affairs just 20 years after California political writers thought they had invented a weapon to overcome such campaign conduct, and to keep the world safe for truth, justice and the American way.

It was in the 1990 Democratic primary for governor that the state’s major newspapers all began to hold campaigns accountable for assertions they made in TV ads, by running some form or other of “truth box” which fact-checked the text and images of ads, especially negative ones, against the record. (The name was always a misnomer: mainstream journalists are trained to report facts, not to determine truth, a much harder challenge.)

Hailed as a breakthrough in campaign reporting by no less a figure than the WashPost’s David Broder, then the unquestioned and widely acclaimed grand poobah of Beltway punditry, the truth box for a short time seemed to hold the promise of raising the level of political advertising; at the very least it required consultants, in those pre-internet days, to fax – fax! – to gimlet-eyed reporters hundreds of pages of supporting documentation each time they rolled out a new spot.

Today, campaigns still go through the motions of citing source material for ad claims, but the rigor of the journalistic exercise has greatly withered away, due not only to the sharp decline in influence of newspapers, but also to huge cutbacks in resources suffered throughout the industry, which have made the serious commitment of reporting hours and news hole space needed to ferret out the complexities of fact and falsity in TV spots something of an unaffordable luxury  in many newsrooms.

In the Whitman-Poizner race, the Sacbee’s substantive and sustained “Ad Watch” effort, thanks largely to the labors of Capitol bureau chief Amy Chance, has been an outlier to this trend.

In the end, whatever moral authority the journalistic truth box might have wielded was always doomed to be overwhelmed by the persuasive powers of repetition and emotional appeal inherent in television advertising. As Democratic media consultant Bill Carrick put it: “Campaigns are all repeat offenders – everybody does it all the time and nobody pays a price for it.”

How Close is that Shave?

We’re not big fans of SurveyUSA because no matter what their alleged record is, it’s a robotic call system with some serious methodological drawbacks that some of the most prestigious pollsters in the country find unacceptable.

But a lot of TV stations use these guys because they’re relatively cheap (and their final results seem magically to come close to the outcome), so their data gets into the political bloodstream. Thus is the latest poll of 548 likely Republican primary voters that shows Meg Whitman ahead of Steve Poizner by just 2 percentage points – 39-37% — with a margin of error of +/- 4.3%.

The poll – commissioned by KABC-TV Los Angeles, KPIX-TV San Francisco, KGTV-TV San Diego and KFSN-TV Fresno – had the race at 22 points just 18 days ago, with Whitman leading 49-27%. Do we think there was a 20-point swing in 18 days? Or do we think the poll is a bit wild? Right.

What we do think is that the trend is what matters. All the polling we’ve seen and heard about shows that the GOP governor’s race has tightened. And if the SurveyUSA crosstabs are to be believed, Poizner has picked up among downscale Palinista Republicans: he leads 42-25% in the Central Valley; 34-32% among voters with incomes under $50,000; he’s got the conservatives 41-38% and the men 41-37%. These are the folks we talked about Monday who just might be affected by Whitman’s connections to Goldman Sachs.

From The Department of Corrections

In our Saturday post about the California Democratic Party’s ad attacking Meg Whitman but masquerading as an “issues ad,” we described the abrupt ending to our conversation with CDP Chairman John Burton. Through his spokesman, Burton on Monday complained that he had been misquoted. Burton says he didn’t say “Fuck you.” His actual words were, “Go fuck yourself.”  Calbuzz regrets the error.

I, Jerry: How Brown Campaign Will Be Run

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

It’s been an open secret* for weeks that Jerry Brown planned to hire longtime aide and Brown family retainer Steve Glazer to run his campaign for governor.

With the MSM now trumpeting this “news” to the skies, it seems like a good time to explain what it actually means.

Brown’s political operation quietly moved out of Jerry’s Oakland loft a couple of months ago, into about 5,000 square feet of  warehouse space about a mile and a half away. That relocation, coupled with the confirmation of Glazers’ status, means his  campaign is finally, if fitfully, under way.

Characteristically, it will not be a typical campaign operation: while Meg Whitman has hired hordes of strategic consultants, Brown will have none.

Glazer, an Orinda city council member and former mayor, organized the student vote for Brown back in 1978; was deputy campaign manager for his 1982 Senate race; press secretary and consultant for Assemblyman Gray Davis (he created Davis’s famous missing-children  milk carton campaign); did policy and press for Kathleen Brown’s 1994 general election campaign and has managed several statewide ballot measures. He’s also been a pilot fish for developers on half a dozen land-use projects.

All of which means Brown’s got a smart, experienced and trusted hand in place as his day-to-day manager — but doesn’t change the fact that Crusty and his very savvy wife, Anne Gust Brown, will function as their own general consultants.

Ads will likely be made by Joe Trippi and David Doak, two former media partners who have since gone their own ways. Trippi, whose clients have included John Edwards and Howard Dean, worked for Brown’s presidential campaigns and also did his media for the 2006 Attorney General’s race.

Doak, who did California media for the late Sen. Alan Cranston and for former Gov. Gray Davis, is essentially retired from the business, playing golf and poker, but eager to help Brown as a volunteer in collaboration with Trippi. We’ll know for sure when spending reports come out, but Calbuzz expects Trippi and Doak will get a fixed fee WAY below market rate for their media work — or no fee at all.

Sterling Clifford, who last worked as communications director for Baltimore Mayor Shiela Dixon before she was indicted on fraud charges, the Baltimore Police Department, looks to be the day-to-day press secretary. But don’t look for a communications director: Brown has always managed his own communications and it’s not likely there’ll be anyone on hand to teach old dog Crusty to bark on command.

Jerry and Richard Maullin, of the survey firm Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz are old friends from the Mesozoic Era so we expect him to manage polling and focus groups.  But we also hear our old friend Paul Maslin is really interested in the race and we expect Brown will also rely on polling by labor groups and others who piggy-back questions for him on their surveys.

We understand Glazer has hired an opposition researcher and there are some other paid people in the office already. But Brown is apparently going to try to prove his belief that it’s possible to run a bare bones, frugal, heavily-volunteer campaign for governor in the biggest executive-level political contest in America outside of the presidency. Good luck with that.

*In late December, Glazer was already clearly signaling he would be the campaign manager, but asked people to respect his timing in announcing it. We honored his request.

The Commish (sorta, kinda, almost) goes negative: Nice work by Team Poizner putting together a comprehensive, well-sourced, well-linked oppo memo on eMeg, e-blasted to the world on Tuesday.

In honor of the Great Woman’s book launch, Commish campaign operatives framed a three-page dossier around chapter heds of eMeg’s magnum opus, “The Power of Many: Values for Success in Business and in Life (Plenty of Free Parking!).” Okay, we made that last part up.

Titled “Meg-A-Tales,” Poizner’s poison pen peppering covers mostly familiar negative ground – from the Great Woman’s sleazy treatment of Craigslist, disgraceful voting record and obscene campaign spending, to her strategic missteps at eBay, political re-invention as a conservative and cowardice in refusing to answer questions from reporters or debate her rivals – but it makes an impressive, hefty package all pulled together.

That said, there are two big problems with the hit: a) Poizner obviously isn’t prepared to put any money behind an attack that goes much beyond the 2,000 people in state politics who talk to each other, plus the rest of the plucky population of Calbuzzville and b) even if he was, there’s a good chance it would blow up in his face; at a time when he’s trailing Whitman by 30 points, two-thirds of Californians have never heard of him and over half of those who have hold a negative opinion.

So Poizner’s Greatest Hits Against eMeg ain’t exactly nothin’, but up against her millions of dollars of earnest, feel good radio ads, it’s pretty damn close.

PXP goes viral: After AP picked up* our story last week on the once-secret offshore oil drilling agreement between PXP oil company and the Environmental Defense Center, Calbuzzer and campaign media consultant Don Ringe worked up an animated political cartoon featuring a monologue by “Mr. PXP” about the deal, which you can find here.

And special Calbuzz T-Ridge props to KQED’s John Myers, who closely questioned Schwarzmuscle about the issue at the governor’s Monday appearance at the Sacto Press Club and offers a smart take on the exchange on his blog at Capital Notes.

Two points worth noting here: a) As Myers reports, it’s interesting to see how breezily Arnold is in abandoning the notion of “principles” when the going gets tough; b) the governor clearly formulates the deal on T-Ridge as a “budget-driven” decision, not an energy vs. environment balancing act.

That is precisely the point that most concerns many environmental opponents of the deal: that California’s landmark environmental protections should be conditioned on the ebb and flow of the budget. In other words, any time Sacramento is in the red, just suspend the Coastal Sanctuary Act or AB 32 or local development guidelines and generate some fresh cash. Laissez les bons temps rouler.

The environmentalists who support the deal, like the EDC, do not agree with this fiscal argument of Arnold’s for the deal: to them T-Ridge has always been a pathway to end some offshore oil drilling permanently, essentially by horsetrading a lease to slant drill in state waters for a promise to decommission four  operations in federal waters.

But: Lay down with dogs, wake up with fleas.

*AP not only picked up but also properly credited the story. Having played the MSM exclusivity rip-off game for many years, your Calbuzzers these days are as scrupulous as possible about crediting and linking to other media sources, new and old alike, and we appreciate the same in return. As for those who jack our stuff, Dr. Hackenflack knows who you are and where you live.

What happens in Mass. stays in Mass: In our piece on the seismic Senate election in Massachusetts, we noted the absence of any election day exit polls that might have provided a data foundation for any of the scenarios spun about Republican Scott Brown’s surprise victory.

Now comes the Washpost, which conducted a survey in the immediate aftermath of the election, in partnership with the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation and Harvard’s School of Public Health.

In their piece on the poll, postmen Dan Balz and Jon Cohen noted that Brown, significantly, won two-thirds of the 63 percent of special-election voters who said the country is on the wrong track:

Dissatisfaction with the direction of the country, antipathy toward federal-government activism and opposition to the Democrats’ health-care proposals drove the upset election of Republican senatorial candidate Scott Brown…

HT to Bill Carrick for the heads up.

How eMeg Spends Money & Why Poizner Doesn’t

Thursday, December 3rd, 2009

megauctionMeg Whitman’s people wrote another big check for another, retooled statewide radio ad this week, while Steve Poizner’s e-blasted a memo assuring supporters that his pathetic, single digit standing in the polls was no reason to tap his own big pile of filthy lucre just yet.

Poizner’s letter is posted over at Flashreport, while conservative yakker Eric Hogue has a a right-wing critique of it up at Hoguenews. In stream of skillful spin only slightly longer than the L.A. phone book, Poizner manager Jim Bognet tackles the key question bestirring some of his backers and puzzling the Calbuzz cognoscenti:

Why the hell hasn’t The Commish yet tapped his personal fortune to get his name out there, at a time when eMeg has already begun to build a sense of inevitability in the Republican primary race for governor?poizner

Proper timing is a central tenet of our plan. We understand that the general public is not paying attention to the 2010 governor’s race – and won’t be until a few months into next year. Californians are focused on raising their families and making ends meet in a difficult economy. While there are a few thousand insiders intently paying attention, the Poizner campaign is quietly progressing while keeping its focus, rather than expending excessive time, energy, and money on inside baseball . . .

Early and excessive spending by the Whitman campaign has had an impact on the polls. While this is to be expected, it is largely meaningless. With the primary still more than seven months away, multiple surveys confirm that the electorate hasn’t engaged and the overwhelming majority of voters are undecided. Whitman’s poll numbers ultimately reflect an increase in name identification, not lasting support. At this point in the race, Name ID means little. Just ask Jon Corzine.

Fair enough, but their whole the-race-starts-when-we-say-it-starts message strikes a lot of insiders,  Republicans and Democrats alike, as a short-sighted rationalization for giving eMeg a free shot at building the perception she’s the presumptive nominee while Single Digits Steve remains a virtual unknown.

radio_wavesPrime example: Whitman’s multi-million dollar investment in an ongoing, low-profile if costly, radio campaign — designed to boost her name ID and three-point platform of creating jobs, cutting spending and fixing education -– has been a shrewd bit of communications strategy.

Says Democratic consultant Bill Carrick of LA, one of the best in the business: “It operates to some degree under the radar. But in a state where people are in their cars one to three hours a day, if you stay with it long enough and spend enough, it has the potential to be very effective -– a sort of slow burn impact that can move voters. Every day, drip by drip, she’s communicating with voters.”

And while Team Poizner has expended energy on ginning up a debate about debates to capitalize on Chicken Meg’s fearful avoidance of nose-to-nose confrontations, her sustained radio campaign has kept her in the public ear, if not eye:

“It has allowed her to be visible while she’s still somewhat a candidate in training,” said Carrick.

On the other hand -– as we former editorial writers are wont to say -– eMeg’s spending is indeed as a thing of wonder. Its obscene magnitude, coupled with her let-them-eat-cake financial platform, may yet backfire in an economic atmosphere which isn’t going to find many presents under the tree this Christmas.

Check out the Secretary of State’s official reports for Margaret C. Whitman who has spent – your best Carl Sagan voice here – millions and millions. Already.

The spending report we looked at totals the first six months of 2009. Keeping in mind there’s millions of bucks worth of updating to do, consider that in the month of June alone, eMeg’s nut was $1,672,637.70.

Here’s some other six-month random numbers to ponder:

– $2,111,774.29 – Amount spent on consultants.
– $943,067.71 – Total for internet and online services.
– $462,642.44 – Dished out for campaign employee salaries.
– $430,723.32 – Thrown at polling and other research services.
– $102,076.71 – Amount spent on private aviation services.

(Trying to figure out exactly who’s getting paid what is a bit challenging, but it looks like among the consultants, Scott Howell has been getting $75,000 a month [maybe that includes commissions and/or fees?], Henry Gomez Gonzales was paid at $36,000 a month, SJZ consultants at $36,000, Jeff Randle at $27,500,  the Davis Group, Heuter and Associates, Strategy Co. and Mitch Zak, all at $20,000 a month.)

Of course, this was before eMeg hired media man Mike Murphy, who, you gotta guess, is gonna make some serious change off the campaign.

Among staffers –- and we sincerely hope we’re not stirring up a hornets’ nest here –- top pay was going to Tucker Bounds and Todd Cranney who appeared to be pulling down $15,000 a month, followed by Michael Saragosa at $12,500, Sara Myers at $12,000 and John Endert at $10,500. (The volcanic Sarah Pompei hadn’t signed on yet, along with several others.)

We gotta say we were a bit stung on behalf for our old colleague Mary Anne Ostromtolstoy from the San Jose Mercury News, sitting in the nosebleed seats at $7,166 a month.

For comparative purposes, consider this: Tom Campbell’s “Recipient Committee Campaign Statement” (tracking all income and expenditures) from 1-1-09 to 6-30-09 is 103 pages; Poizner’s is 256 pages and Whitman’s is a staggering 668 pages –- on track to match Leo Tolstoy’s “War and Peace” by the end of the year.

Whether eMeg’s Queen Midas strategy proves far-sighted or folly will not be known, of course, until the results of the June primary are in. At this point, Team Poizner’s attack on her spending sounds suspiciously like whistling past the graveyard.