Political consultants gathered for a recent meeting in Sacramento debated whether Meg Whitman's personal fortune would matter to voters in this year's governor's race.
They were in complete agreement, however, on one point: Her Democratic rival Jerry Brown will keep bringing it up. In doing so he risks a certain counterpunch: Brown, the Democratic nominee, has enjoyed some of the same advantages of wealth and power for which he criticizes Whitman.
He invested money in a tax shelter and sat on a corporate board. He accepted free memberships to exclusive clubs and a Gold Pass to a less exclusive one, Disneyland. He lives in a $1.8 million house.
Neither of the candidates has released copies of their tax returns, and it's impossible to say just how much they are worth. But as a longtime public figure, Brown has left a trail that provides a picture of his standard of living.
Although he's clearly not in Whitman's financial league, the average Californian would consider him wealthy. "Jerry Brown did not grow up in a little log cabin," Claremont McKenna College government professor Jack Pitney said.
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