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Divided We Stand

Divided We Stand
New book about the 2020 election.

Monday, May 31, 2010

CA: Air War, Not Ground War

According to census estimates, California has 37 million people, about 50 percent more than the next-largest state (Texas, with 25 million). A pair of stories in the Los Angeles Times suggest that California's sheer immensity means that the air war matters more than the ground war.

"It's crazy out there," said Sheri Sadler, a Democratic political media buyer, who said lower-tier candidates are having difficulty finding airtime to purchase. Television stations are turning away their regular clients because of the amount of money that Steve Poizner and Meg Whitman are pouring into television, she said.

"They are literally buying anything they can get their hands on, every spot that's available to them, everything that opens up," Sadler said, and Whitman and Poizner's camps haven't stopped even now: "They're calling every single day."

Whitman has spent $47 million on television and radio ads, while Poizner has spent nearly $18 million in his ad campaign, which began months after Whitman's. Californians have been unable to avoid the deluge — according to a new Los Angeles Times/USC poll, 77% of voters surveyed from May 19 to 26 had seen a political advertisement recently. Of those voters, 80% had seen a Whitman ad and 71% had viewed a Poizner ad.
In the Senate race, tea party support for Chuck DeVore can only do him limited good.
Dawn Wildman, California coordinator for the Tea Party Patriots, an umbrella group, said she constantly hears about independent efforts for DeVore — including precinct walking, sign rallies and voter-to-voter calls — in her weekly conference calls with organizers of the 160 Patriots groups.

"One of the few races that I've seen absolute consensus on has actually been the Chuck DeVore race," she said. But she admits that it is more difficult to marshal grass-root forces in California than in a smaller state like Kentucky.

"Just from the distance perspective, it truly is like herding cats in California," she said.