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Money Wins Big in California Primary Vote

Money won big last night in California. It greatly helped Meg Whitman win the GOP nomination for governor and gave Carly Fiorina the Republican nod to run against Barbara Boxer.
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Money won big last night in California. It greatly helped Meg Whitman win the GOP nomination for governor and gave Carly Fiorina the Republican nod to run against Democratic U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer in the November general elections.

Whitman admits to, and is proud of, the fact that she has spent more than $70 million of her own fortune to secure the nomination and is, she says, prepared to spend up to $125 million to get the actual job.

Fiorina, too, spent tons of money, and it certainly paid off for her.

During her acceptance speech, Whitman, as is often the case with super rich candidates, said that she owed no one anything... no special interest money poured into her campaign. But the logical extension of her argument is that, therefore, only the very rich ought to run for public office in the first place.

That voters in this state also turned their thumbs down on a proposition that would have set up a limited experiment with public campaign funding is the ultimate irony: While Whitman may be correct when she says that politicians who shun special interest money owe nothing to those interests, politicians who take public money owe everything to the public's interests! That is how it ought to be.

Whitman's argument essentially means she is working for herself. Wouldn't it be better if she were working for the voters who may eventually put her into high state office?

Having said all this, it would be unfair to suggest that Whitman won only because she outspent the U.S. Treasury. The fact is, the political landscape all across the nation is pockmarked with all sorts of rich candidates who fueled their campaigns with their personal fortune, only to see it all fizzle at the voting booth come election day. So, credit must be given where it is due.

As much as many Democrats might not like it, it is simplistic to say that Whitman -- and Fiorina -- won strictly because of money. Obviously, their "outsider" message resonated with some primary voters.

But money is still the theme here in California in the final analysis. The big money candidates both won the nomination.

And, you ain't seen nothing yet, folks! As the spring dissolves into summer and the summer into the fall elections, the money will flow like the Colorado River, as the Democrats open up their own bank vaults to try and keep Whitman out of Sacramento and Fiorina away from Washington.

Charles Feldman is a journalist, media consultant and co-author of the book, "No Time To Think-The Menace of Media Speed and the 24-hour News Cycle." He has covered police and politics in Los Angeles since 1995 and is a regular contributor of investigative reports to KNX1070 Newsradio

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