Debate Deja Vu For Meg Whitman

Campaign cash and appearances the big questions ahead of November

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Here are the two people who will face off in November. Meg Whitmas will take on Jerry Brown.

    When Attorney General Jerry Brown challenged former eBay CEO Meg Whitman to a series of ten "town hall" style appearances, it might be a bad sign that the Democratic nominee for governor didn't learn much from the Republican party primary.

    He continued to hammer the call for debates during an appearance in Fremont Thursday asking reporters, "What is she afraid of?"

    RAW VIDEO: Jerry Brown on Election Night

    [BAY] RAW VIDEO: Jerry Brown on Election Night
    Jerry Brown talks to supports after winning the California Primary. (Published Tuesday, Jun 8, 2010)

    "Even if she doesn't want to debate, I'll be glad to stand next to her and let you ask questions of her and me," Brown added.

    He is sounding a lot like Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner as he clamored for a debate for months before Whitman granted him an audience.  All the time he asked, Whitman carpet-bombed the airwaves with record spending on advertising with no challenge from Poizner.

    RAW VIDEO: Meg Whitman Wins

    [BAY] RAW VIDEO: Meg Whitman Wins
    The former eBay CEO won California's primary easily. (Published Wednesday, Jun 9, 2010)

    Fast forward to today, Whitman's campaign promised that there will be debates. They even have one on the calendar that will be hosted at Dominican University that will air on NBC Bay Area.

    Only problem for Brown is that it's scheduled for October 11. That's less than a month before the election.

    In the meantime, he should probably make sure he doesn't get similarly swamped by unchallenged advertising.

    But there's a problem there, too. With $20 million in the bank and independent expenditure committees having raised only a little over $6 million, there's scant resources to counter the $79 million Whitman has promised she's willing to spend in the general election, and it's money she has available whenever she needs it.

    Whitman spent approximately $90 per vote in the primary, and while she may get a better deal going forward (the entire voter pool instead offers an economy of scale), even if Brown raises another $20 million and organized labor raise their promised $40 million, the money may end up too little, too late.

    Because by the time for battle at the podiums, Whitman may have already won the commercial war.

    Jackson West suggests that Brown can by ads pretty cheap at local, online news sites. Ahem.