Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman has spent immense sums in her bid to succeed Arnold Schwarzenegger as governor of California, but as Colorlines' Jamilah King reports, it hasn't done her much good in the polls:
Whitman also shouldn’t underestimate voters. Despite her massive campaign budget, she’s remained relatively tied with Brown in recent polls. On September 8, Rasmussen Reports found that Whitman only had a three point lead over Brown among likely voters in the state — a margin that was actually five points higher at the end of August. So it actually looks like as Whitman spends more money, the lead is shrinking.
I doubt Meg Whitman will lose the election, but if she does, she'll be the latest in a line of self-financed candidates to fail in their electoral bids. As the Center for Responsive Politics found in a recent study, of the 20 top self-funders who competed for the House and Senate, only only six made it through the primaries: Linda McMahon, Carly Fiorina and Ron Johnson for the Senate, and Tom Ganley, Randy Altschuler and Matt Doheny for the House.
This should further counter the argument that political parties are less important to electoral success than they were in the past; even wealthy would-be politicians need support within established political organizations, if only to build grassroots support and successfully conduct the more mundane business of licking stamps, sealing envelopes and canvassing neighborhoods. Having politicians "make calls" -- ask rich party stalwarts for money -- is boring and a little demeaning, but it build connections within the party that are extremely helpful in primary contests and beyond. Having independent wealth is nice, but as we've seen this summer, it's not integral to running a successful political campaign.
-- Jamelle Bouie
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