Billionaire Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman spent money at a rapid pace last year, burning through $19.5 million a full year ahead of the general election, according to campaign finance reports filed Monday.
Documents filed with the secretary of state's office showed the former eBay chief executive is spending generously to bankroll a large campaign team, run a series of statewide radio ads introducing herself to voters and hold fundraisers that netted $10 million in contributions.
Whitman also gave $19 million of her own money to her campaign in 2009. She ended the year with $10.5 million cash on hand but has since given herself another $20 million from her personal fortune.
The GOP contest this June is expected to become the most expensive primary in California history. Whitman has said she could spend more than $100 million in her quest to become governor.
Her rival in the Republican primary, state Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner, has given his campaign nearly $19 million so far and spent $3.7 million. Monday's filing shows the former Silicon Valley entrepreneur has raised about $2 million from donors and ended the year with $17.7 million in the bank.
The Republican nominee is expected to face the famously frugal Jerry Brown, the state attorney general and presumed Democratic nominee. He has yet to declare his candidacy but is raising money for a gubernatorial campaign.
Brown raised nearly $12 million in 2009 but spent just $137,000 in his unofficial quest to return to the office he held for two years in the 1970s and early 1980s. Brown has since hired a modestly sized campaign staff.
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