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Poizner antes up $15 million for gov race

In what’s turning out to be a self-funded showdown for the GOP gubernatorial nomination, former eBay CEO Meg Whitman this year has put $19.02 million into her campaign and already is airing an ad blitz to raise her name recognition.

Meanwhile, state Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner had anted up only – only! – $4.2 million, leading some to wonder when he was going to pull out the stops and take to the airwaves in a meaningful way.

Well, wonder no longer. Poizner announced this morning that he’ll be contributing $15 million to his campaign, and that as governor he’ll slash California’s welfare spending by more than half. Nice symmetry, no?

His e-mailed statement:

“California is in deep trouble and I truly believe there could be no better time to run for Governor. We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to really fix and reform our state. As we look towards 2010, I know the Republican primary will be won based on which candidate presents clear, specific, and conservative solutions for solving California’s economic problems. I will communicate my message of bold 10 percent tax cuts, a 10 percent reduction in state spending, creating a $10 billion rainy day fund, and I will cut our welfare spending so that it is in line with the national average or better. We have 30 percent of the nation’s welfare recipients and only 12 percent of the population. That’s change for the better and a message that I am confident will resonate with Republican voters.”

Meanwhile, the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza says the third GOP gubernatorial contender, Tom Campbell, may be considering switching over to the GOP primary for U.S. Senate, where he would face former HP CEO Carly Fiorina and Assemblyman Chuck DeVore.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.