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Wednesday, March 08, 2006

CA Gov. Candidate Steve Westly Uses Fortune to Bully Opponent

Michael Finnegan reports in the Los Angeles Times that part of California Democratic gubernatorial candidate Steve Westly's strategy is to buy tons of early televisions ads in order to force his opponent, Phil Angelides, to spend down his campaign funds. Westly, an E-Bay millionaire at least 200 times over, is using his fortune to fund his own campaign, kicking in more than $22 million so far.

Westly consultant and longtime Dem strategist Garry South is quoted thus: "Let him spend down his cash," Westly strategist Garry South said. "Unless he has some money tree he can shake at the end, he's going to run perilously short of money."

Well, to a former Gray Davis consultant like South, I suppose it might seem savvy, even wise to nyah-nyah your opponent because he isn't as rich as your candidate. To the rest of us, it looks like another rich guy trying to buy his way into office.

California voters booted Gray Davis not just because he spent more time fundraising than breathing, but because he allowed financially powerful donors to exert enormous influence on state policy. It is not too surprising that a political consultant whose pockets are lined with the lucre of campaigns past and present would take away from the recall the lesson that California voters approve of self-funding multi-millionaire candidates that use their personal fortunes to bully their opponents into submission.

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