Larry Mantle |

Buying votes in California's gubernatorial election

State Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner is closing the gap with fellow GOP gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman. However, he may be setting himself up to lose the general election, even if he gets there.

Poizner’s spent millions trying to match Whitman’s formidable television ad presence. His strategy to wait until later in the campaign to spend from his fortune appears to be working. However, he’s also scoring points by coming down harder against illegal immigration and by supporting Arizona’s new law.

If Poizner beats Whitman and makes the November election, his words will likely come back to haunt him. California has so many Latino voters that are strongly opposed to the Arizona law that it will make it very difficult to beat Jerry Brown. Even though recent polls show strong support for the Arizona law, Latinos are the one group overwhelmingly against it.

One thing's certain, the November gubernatorial will feature massive spending. I'm curious how much it will be on a per-vote basis.

I was a bit surprised to see a statistical dead heat on the November ballot measure to decriminalize marijuana in California. I would’ve expected majority support, even if those numbers eroded closer to the election. It looks now like it will be very tough going for supporters of the proposition.