Meg Whitman has put more money into her own gubernatorial campaign than every single person who ran for governor nationwide in 2007 and 2008 put into their own campaigns – combined – according to a study released this week by the National Institute on Money in State Politics.
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The study, which focuses mostly on the cost of legislative campaigns, estimates that of the 146 candidates who ran for governor or lieutenant governor in 14 states during the 2007-08 election cycle, 60 spent a combined total of $47 million financing their own campaigns.
Not that she's the only candidate who has ever opened their wallet so wide. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg holds the self-financing crown, spending $108 million of his own money to win re-election in 2009.
Whitman's mentor, Mitt Romney, dropped $35 million on his failed presidential bid, and former New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine spent $25.3 million in his failed re-election attempt last year, according to Talking Points Memo.
Corzine also took his lumps back in 2000, when he spent $35 million of his own money to help win a Senate primary and went on to spend $60 million before he was elected. Check out this roundup of comments from the Washington Post:
The drumbeat of outrage began as soon as former Wall Street executive Jon Corzine declared victory in the New Jersey Democratic Senate primary earlier this month.
"It's no exaggeration to say that Corzine bought" the nomination by using $35 million of his own money for the campaign, a Newsday editorial said.
"It is no longer a democracy but a plutocracy," declared Sheila Krumholz of the Center for Responsive Politics, a campaign finance watchdog group.
"Is there any end to the madness of money and politics?" asked the Capital Times of Madison, Wis.
Whatever's wrong with the combustion of money and politics these days, self-financed spenders aren't at the top of the list. Lavish personal spending certainly elicits "the-sky-is-falling" cries from campaign finance reform advocates and newspaper editorial writers. But all this noise obscures a simple fact: Self-financiers usually don't win. When they do, it isn't their money alone that puts them in office.
Sound familiar? That was written 10 years ago.
Whitman's campaign has consistently stuck with the message that their candidate will spend what it takes to win. She has reportedly vowed to spend up to $150 million.