"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.
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.