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20 October 2010

California governorship

Meg Whitman (R) v Jerry Brown (D)

By Rob Higson

Much press attention has focused in the Golden State on the Boxer-Fiorina battle for the Senate. However, the Republican candidate for governor, Meg Whitman, has also attracted a significant press profile and is one to watch in this close-run state.

Whitman, the former chief executive of eBay, is up against Jerry Brown, Democratic governor of California from 1975-83 and current attorney general.

Whitman, who reportedly had never voted until recently, has put more than $110m of her own money into the race.

She came under scrutiny when it was revealed she had employed a housekeeper who was an illegal immigrant.

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In a state with unemployment significantly above the national average, effective stewardship of the economy, creation of jobs and the public school system are all major issues.

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Brown, 72, has sought to portray Whitman as an outsider (she moved to California in the early 1980s) whose policies would leave thousands of public-sector workers out of a job and whose proposals to eliminate capital gains tax would leave an economic black hole.

Brown, a rival to Bill Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1992, is edging ahead in the polls.

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