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Meg Whitman Campaign Spending Hits $99 Million in California Governor's Race

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Billionaire Republican Meg Whitman reported Monday that she has spent more than $99 million in her quest to become California's governor, while Democrat Jerry Brown is saving money for what could become the most expensive gubernatorial contest in American history.

The former eBay chief executive reported Monday that she spent nearly $20 million in the six-week period ending June 30, which included the weeks immediately before and after California's primary. Her campaign said the first-time candidate spent $71 million to win the GOP primary against state Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner.

Brown, who faced no serious challenger in the Democratic primary, has spent just $450,000 on his race to date, although the number climbs to $774,000 once donated services are included. Whitman's figure jumps to $100.3 million when such services are included.

Brown has $23 million cash on hand, while Whitman has about $10.3 million.

While the former two-term governor and current state attorney general courts donors, Brown's campaign has been buoyed by spending from union-funded groups. That includes nearly $4 million in television and radio ads in the six-week period from California Working Families. The group reported that it raised $5.8 million during the period.

A poll released last week by the Public Policy Institute of California found the candidates about even among likely voters, with 37 percent backing Brown and 34 percent favoring Whitman. A quarter of respondents were still undecided.

Whitman has given her campaign $91 million of her own money and continues to aggressively court donors, bringing in $3.3 million from outside sources in the six weeks ending June 30. Brown reported he had raised slightly more than $2.6 million.

He received $13,800 in May from DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. founder Jeffrey Katzenberg and the same amount from his wife, Marilyn. Publisher William Randolph Hearst III contributed $38,800 a week before the June 8 primary. His contribution covered the primary and general elections.

Whole Foods Inc. president Walter Robb gave Brown $20,809.

Whitman's high-profile contributors included some of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's biggest benefactors: Berkshire Hathaway executive Charles Munger Jr., who gave Whitman the maximum $25,900 contribution; Spanish-language television magnate Jerry Perenchio and his wife, Margaret, who each gave $25,900; Los Angeles philanthropist Eli Broad, who gave $25,900; and Barron Hilton, chairman of the Hilton Hotels empire, who gave $20,000.

Whitman's roster of Republican staffers includes many former Schwarzenegger advisers, including her top political consultant, Mike Murphy, who makes $90,000 a month.

By contrast, Brown's report showed he had just four employees through the end of June, as well as campaign manager Steven Glazer, who was paid $30,000 during the six-week period.

Brown's donated services include the $1,995 monthly rent for an apartment in Oakland used by Brown's Los Angeles campaign staff, as well as $600 in janitorial services for his campaign office.

Brown's tightfisted approach has worried some fellow Democrats who want him to respond to Whitman's attacks, but Brown has been getting help all summer from union-funded groups that have launched their own television and radio attacks against Whitman.

The 85,000-member California Nurses Association has been among the groups benefiting Brown. It has staged rallies at her campaign events and private fundraisers, parading an actress dressed as "Queen Meg."

Other candidates seeking statewide office also reported their fundraising and spending numbers on Monday, which was the reporting deadline for candidates, major donors and committees supporting and opposing ballot initiatives.

In the lieutenant governor's race, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom netted more than $337,000 in monetary contributions in just six weeks and spent a hefty $453,000. Newsom has about $495,000 in the bank, while his opponent, Republican incumbent Abel Maldonado, has just $90,000 cash on hand. The former state senator, appointed to the job in April by Schwarzenegger, also reported $261,000 in debt.

In the secretary of state's race, Irvine real estate developer and former NFL player Damon Dunn netted nearly double the contributions of incumbent Democrat Debra Bowen. Dunn, a Republican, has about $176,000 on hand, while Bowen has just more than $113,000.

Republican attorney general hopeful Steve Cooley, the Los Angeles County district attorney, received $341,000 in new contributions and spent $530,000, leaving him with just more than $121,000 on hand. His opponent, San Francisco County District Attorney Kamala Harris, had not yet filed her latest report by Monday evening.

State controller John Chiang, a Democrat, had raised $125,000 in his bid to retain his seat, leaving him with nearly $1.3 million on hand. His opponent, Republican state Sen. Tony Strickland, raised $173,000 and has about $309,000 on hand.

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Associated Press Writer Robin Hindery contributed to this report.

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