According to the latest pre-election news articles on the subject, Meg Whitman spent about $141,600,000 of her own money on her campaign for Governor of California. However, owing to the fact that this is a relatively liberal state, and her only perceivable qualification for higher office is a passing resemblance to Ben Franklin, she lost. It wasn’t even close. She outspent Governor-Elect Brown by 6 to 1. And she lost.
Meg Whitman has shown herself to be a heartless, soulless automaton (in other words, a typical CEO.) But what if she wasn’t? What if she sat down back in January and said, “You know, I want to spend $141.6 million of my own money on California.” What could she have done with that money, instead of giving it all to a few Washington-based consultancies and every TV station in the state?
Well, the latest census figures for 2009 (2010 isn’t done yet) show California’s population at 36,961,664 (give or take.)
So if Meg had just given out cash, that would have meant $3.83 for every man, woman and child in the state.
The average household size is 2.92 people, so she could have given every household $11.18.
Based on tonight’s estimates, she spent about $24 per vote cast for her. she spent about $45.43 per vote cast for her (my earlier number was based on an extrapolation of early returns. She lost by a much larger percentage than I estimated.)
With their current special, she could have bought every person two Whoppers at Burger King.
She could have bought every household a $10 iTunes gift card.
She could have bought every person who voted for her a KFC family meal. an iPod Shuffle.
She could have given every person who voted for her a Big Thank You Caramel Apple basket from 1-800-Flowers. a 100 Blooms of Multicolored Spray Roses Thank You Bouquet from 1-800-Flowers.
Halloween just passed. She could have given every person in the state a whole bag of Hershey’s miniatures.
She could have bought 488,275 nice touring bikes and set them up at stands throughout major cities and even mid-sized towns (helping the environment, and helping people work off that bag of Hershey’s miniatures.)
She could completely bankroll the most recent “Star Trek” movie.
She could bankroll a 28 episode season of “Boardwalk Empire.”
Instead, she spent her $141.6 million to prove that there are some parts of the country where you still can’t just up and buy an election. And that lesson is priceless.