Democrats target Whitman in governor's race

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California Republican gubernatorial candidate and former eBay CEO Meg Whitman, March 18, 2010 in San Jose, California.

The California Democratic Party Friday jumped into the Republican race for governor. It launched a TV ad that attacks former eBay chief Meg Whitman, who holds a wide lead in the GOP primary.

The state Democratic Party bought $800,000 of TV time to run a 30-second ad that focuses on Whitman’s ties to Goldman Sachs.

With ominous music in the background, an announcer warns of Whitman's association with the investment bank facing federal fraud charges.

“Today, Whitman has millions invested in secretive off-shore accounts managed by Goldman Sachs and used by the rich to avoid taxes."

The billionaire executive also sat on Goldman’s board and enjoyed now-banned stock sales profits. She’s said she regretted those sales.

Spokesman Rob Stutzman said Democrats — and their labor union backers — fear Whitman more than her opponent in the GOP primary, State Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner. Stutzman said they're worried about her plan to reduce the number of state employees, many of whom are members of unions.

In a conference call with reporters, Stutzman acknowledged that Poizner’s been gaining on Whitman with his own attack ads.

“What we’ve seen is that the amount of money that’s been spent in trying to drive Meg’s negatives has obviously had a leveling effect upon the race," he said.

Poizner’s camp says internal polls show he’s within ten percentage points of Whitman.

Whitman’s camp says she maintains a 20-point-plus advantage.

Whitman remains the big spender in the race; she’s plowed $40 million of her money into her campaign.

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