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Poizner attacks Whitman's voting record in ad

May 13, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
The Republican race for California governor is heating up with Steve Poizner now in a virtual tie with Meg Whitman, according to our exclusive Eyewitness News poll. According to the poll, former eBay CEO Meg Whitman lost a 22-point lead in less than three weeks. Her opponent, Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner has a new ad accusing Whitman of never voting in 28 years -- a charge Whitman denies.

Poizner, who addressed the Long Beach Chamber of Commerce on Thursday, is a multi-millionaire, but still doesn't have the resources of his opponent. So he marshaled his money for the last two months of the campaign. And he's on the air constantly with ads attacking Whitman.

The latest ad goes after her admittedly poor voting record with a questionable claim. The commercial, which began running Thursday throughout most of California, claims the former eBay chief executive did not vote from 1972 to 2000, although Whitman has said she remembers voting in the 1984 and 1988 presidential elections.

"I voted in much of the 80s in San Francisco and of course when I moved back to California, so he knows it's not true," said Whitman.

The fact is San Francisco's voting records are not complete when it comes to showing who voted, including Whitman. There are no records of longtime California Senator Dianne Feinstein voting, and she's lived in San Francisco for decades.

Whitman was in San Diego campaigning Thursday as she tries to regain the momentum in her campaign. She says she did vote for people like Ronald Reagan, even her campaign manager former Governor Pete Wilson.

Poizner's new ads don't equivocate. They say his opponent did not vote a single time in 28 years. She has admitted that her voting record is bad and has apologized for it.

"For two weeks last year Meg Whitman confirmed that she hadn't voted then all of a sudden two weeks later when she figured out that they couldn't prove it one way or the other she changed her story," said Poizner.

When asked on how he could be so certain Whitman didn't vote at all when there are gaps in the records, Poizner's answer contradicted his commercials.

"Did she vote zero in 28 years or once or twice in 28 years? That's what she's trying to argue," said Poizner.

Based on our Eyewitness News poll on Monday, Meg Whitman has a two-point lead over Steve Poizner. With the margin of error that means it's a tied race. A few months ago she led by 40 to 50 points.

They both were confident the race would tighten, but it surprised both campaigns that it changed so much.


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