Big Bucks Battling It Out at the Ballot Box - NBC Bay Area

Big Bucks Battling It Out at the Ballot Box

Primary Candidates Spent Millions in the Most Costly Election in California History



    Big Bucks Battling It Out at the Ballot Box
    Getty Images
    Meg Whitman, Steve Poizner.

    As California voters head to the polls for the primary, the candidates are positioning themselves for November.

    Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman is leading in the polls, but she isn't taking anything for granted.

    Check back here after the polls close for election results.

    "We have one day to go, don't we." Former eBay CEO Whitman said on Monday. "While we are ahead in the polls, I never take anything for granted and neither should you."

    Her opponent, insurance commissioner and former Silicon Valley businessman Steve Poizner is sounding optimistic about his own campaign for the Republican nomination for governor.

    "We're going to need to put together a large coalition of people to win in November," said Steve Poizner, Republican Candidate for Governor.

    But the billionaire has been seriously outspent by Whitman, who spent $81 million in her campaign -- $71 million was from her own fortune. She has spent so much money, critics have called her campaign spending obscene.

    Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, looking to grab the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate, has appealed to conservative voters with her views on abortion, guns and gay marriage but will face a difficult task trying to unseat incumbent Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer if she emerges victorious in Tuesday's primary.

    Fiorina has had a come-from-behind story in her race for the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate, greatly outspending her two challengers. She holds double-digit leads against former congressman Tom Campbell and state Assemblyman Chuck DeVore.

    "Self-funded candidates usually lose," said Brian Adams, CSU Political Scientist. "The majority usually lose. If Meg Whitman wins, they're gonna say she did it right. She got out front early. She put the money in when it counted. She did the right thing."

    The most costly election in California history was fueled largely by the personal fortunes of the candidates, fortunes made in Silicon Valley's high tech industry.

    In addition to Whitman's $81 million, Poizner spent $24 million, former Facebook exec Chris Kelly, candidate for Attorney General spent $12 million, and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina spent over $7 million.

    The winners get to spend even more by November.

    Round two starts on Wednesday.

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