Politics & Government

Meg Whitman's campaign spending totals $178.5 million

As Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman preached fiscal restraint during her campaign last year, she spent more than $122 million on TV and radio ads.

The billionaire former CEO also poured more than $13 million into campaign consultant salaries, including $1.3 million for her most well-paid aide Mike Murphy, who worked for her for about 13 months.

The campaign's final finance statement, which was filed Monday, painted a detailed picture of the most expensive non-presidential race in U.S. history.

The grand spending tally for Whitman: $178.5 million, including $144 million from her own pocketbook.

Despite that massive budget, she lost to Democrat Jerry Brown, who spent $36.7 million on his campaign, almost all of it coming from outside contributors.

In total, Whitman's finance statement listed more than 120 people as consultants or receiving salaries. By comparison, Brown's statement listed just 18 people as consultants or receiving a salary.

"Campaigns need to be focused and when you have that many big-name, big-money political consultants telling you what to do, it's hard to keep your campaign focused on just one theme, just one message," said UC San Diego political science professor Thad Kousser.

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