Big Bucks: The Real Path to Sacramento?

By Jessica Greene
|  Thursday, Dec 17, 2009  |  Updated 1:24 PM PDT
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Inadvertently Passionate Political Gazes

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California GOP candidates for governor Meg Whitman and Steve Poizner can't even agree about why they haven't faced off in a debate.

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State Attorney General Jerry Brown leads the race for governor, according to a new poll, even though the Democrat is not officially in the race yet.

According to the Public Policy Institute of California, if a vote were to take place today and Brown's name was on the ballot, he would win by six points.

On the Republican side, the race to run California is proving an old adage: money talks.

Brown's closest competition would be former eBay CEO Meg Whitman. She leads all Republicans by a large margin -- 32 percent support. She has contributed $19 million of her own money to her campaign. The Chronicle points out that she has said she may spend as much as $150 million on the race for governor.

And while the poll shows State Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner has just eight percent of support from voters, he's hoping his recent investment of $15 million of his personal funds will help him win over the 44 percent of Republican voters who have not yet decided on a candidate.

Former Rep. Tom Campbell is running behind, with 12 percent of support in the poll. His strategy of staying somewhat silent and letting Poizner and Whitman fight it out in the public eye might become his biggest asset.

Experts say not to read too much into the numbers. The poll finds almost half of likely voters still do not have an opinion.

But the big bucks can assure one thing -- this race will be an ugly one, filled with negative ads as the Silicon Valley multimillionaires battle it out for the big seat on Sacramento.

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