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Meg's Flying Private, Jerry's Going Southwest: Details From Campaign Expense Reports

Whitman and Brown

It's not news that Meg Whitman vastly outspent her opponent Jerry Brown in the race for California Governor.  Although the final tally is not in, the Whitman campaign spent roughly $6 for every $1 the Brown campaign invested.

The vast majority of Whitman funds came from the candidate herself.  Because it was her personal money, she was certainly within her rights to spend it in any way she wished. 

Still, a dip into the financial records of the two campaigns reveals the candidates' very different campaign styles and habits.

The California Secretary of State collects and publishes campaign expense reports from candidates.  

The files reveal some interesting details, including the fact that the Governor-elect seems to fly exclusively on Southwest Airlines, while Ms. Whitman preferred a private airplane.  Whitman's campaign spent lavishly on Information Technology services, while the Brown campaign was frugal with the IT budget.  Overall, Brown's spending was dwarfed by Whitman's, as the following chart of selected expense categories reveals.

Expense Category Whitman Brown
Campaign Consultants $11,693,548 $167,200
Worker Salaries $5,918,111 $157,870
Candidate Travel $950,890 $12,072
Information Technology $3,177,978 $23,346
Office Expenses $2,321,340 $132,023

Not included in the chart, but interesting as well, are the amounts the candidates spent buying TV ad time.  Whitman's total was north of $100 million, While Brown spent about $20 million.  But both candidates chose media buying agencies outside California.  Whitman's is based in Washington, DC.  Brown's operates from Marietta, Georgia.  You'd think both of those candidates could have found California-based ad firms to help them spend their millions buying TV time.

Here are the full breakdowns for both the Whitman and the Brown campaigns. You can browse through them online, or download them as spreadsheets for hours of database entertainment.