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Poizner: He's true conservative in gov. race

March 18, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Among the California gubernatorial candidates is Republican Steve Poizner. He talked to Eyewitness News about his candidacy and some very daunting poll numbers. Its less than three months until voters decide which candidates for governor face off in the November general election. There are those who think the race may already be over with a 50-point spread between Republican candidates. But State Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner said it's just starting.

Poizner was in Newport Beach Thursday. As the Orange County Register said, the Republican race may already be over.

Poizner says don't believe it, he's in the race to win. He's facing former eBay CEO Meg Whitman in the Republican primary. She holds a commanding lead of nearly 50 percent in the new Field Poll.

"No big surprise when you're spending tens of millions of dollars and you're out there by yourself, your name ID goes up," said Poizner. "That's about to change. We're in the process of really ramping up our campaign now real aggressively."

The multi-millionaire has spent only a fraction of the money spent by billionaire Whitman. He's says he's only getting started. Yet at least 10 prominent Republican supporters have jumped ship to Whitman.

"There's a few people that look at the polls and are all nervous and they're just concerned about not really fully understanding the polls. I understand that some people don't have the stomach for it. That's OK," said Poizner.

Poizner and Whitman have had one debate so far. He says when the Republican base hears about their differences it will make a huge difference in the polls. He wants across-the-board tax cuts, a centerpiece of his campaign. She says we can't afford it.

"Tax rates go down, the size of the tax base increases, tax revenues go up, not down, after these tax cuts. That's something Meg Whitman doesn't understand and is something Meg Whitman and I just fundamentally disagree on," said Poizner.

Poizner says Republican voters are only now starting to focus on the race. And he's ready to help them focus on him, not his opponent running for office for the first time.

"What is the Republican primary base looking for? That's the question. Because right now they've only heard one side," said Poizner. "When they hear the others side, they're going to realize that I'm the conservative in the race with a track record, not a rookie, but with a track record."

Both Poizner and Whitman have put their own money in their campaigns. Whitman has given her own campaign at least $39 million. Poizner has put in about $19 million of his own money and says he will give more.

The Republican primary is June 8.