Carly Fiorina,  Meg Whitman,  Tom Campbell

CA-Sen: Anti-Israel Claims Hurting Tom Campbell Fundraising or Did Meg Whitman Pull the Plug?

Former e-Bay CEO Meg Whitman, running for California Governor and former Congressman Tom Campbell formerly a candidate for Governor and now a U.S. Senate candidate

The case for the anti-Israel cause for Tom Campbell’s fundraising failures is made over at the Frum Forum.

Now that Campbell has switched over to the Senate race, his current level of fundraising puts him on par with primary opponents Carly Fiorina and Chuck DeVore, who have both raised similar amounts despite having four or five more months to fundraise.

On the other hand, the latest fundraising numbers may be an indicator of how donors feel about the anti-Israel allegations lobbed at him in early February.

Campbell’s campaign announced in February that they had raised $700,000 in one month. It’s taken them an additional month to raise the remaining $300,000 needed to hit the million dollar mark, which means that fundraising dropped by more than half in February.

Actually, Carly Fiorina has ONLY been fundraising since the first week of November while Chuck DeVore has been at it for over fifteen months. And, remember, that Fiiorina loaned her campaign an additional $2.5 million from her personal wealth at the end of December. The cash on hand comparisons even at this point, place Fiorina far ahead in cash available to mail ads and go on television.

But, there has been a fall off in Tom Campbell fundraising. Look at the conflicting statements from the Campbell campaign.

Reached for comment, Campbell spokesman James Fisfis said that their fundraising target was still set at $5 million. Fisfis also dismissed the suggestion that the drop-off had anything to do with the anti-Israel allegations…”

At his current fundraising pace, Campbell is on track to raise about $1.5 million total for the primary, and instead I point out that in an AP story on January 29, Fisfis pegged Campbell’s fundraising goal a little higher…like $2 to $5 million higher:

“Campbell is prohibited from transferring any of the money he had raised for the governor’s race but estimated he would raise between $7 million and $10 million during the GOP Senate primary.

“’And based on our initial fundraising response, we’re sticking with that,’ Fisfis said.”

And, in February, Team Campbell told the SF Chron that they were sticking by that $7 to $10 million figure…

So, why the fall-off in campaign cash?

Was it Tom Campbell’s association with convicted Islamic terrorists like Sami Al-Arian?

Or was it something more local – like his donor sponsor sugar mommy California Governor Meg Whitman who is the uber-rich former CEO of e-Bay pulling the plug?

Remember it was Meg Whitman who persuaded Tom Campbell to leave his year-long campaign for California Governor and in January switch to the United States Senate race. And, remember there were plenty of rumors as to the political machinations behind the switch.

Bill Bradley has the poop.

While Whitman’s operatives employed coercion in their backfiring bid to get Poizner out of the race, they employed persuasion to remove Campbell from the equation. While consultant Mike Murphy played the heavy with Poizner, several sources say that another former consigliere for Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bob White, the longtime chief of staff to former Governor and Senator Pete Wilson who now heads a powerful corporate consulting firm in the state capital, played the lead role for Whitman on the Campbell project. Wilson is Whitman’s campaign chair.

In December, according to well-informed sources, Whitman operatives began trying to influence people in the orbit around Schwarzenegger to persuade Campbell to switch out of the governor’s race and into the Senate race. Campbell, whose varied career has included stints as a Stanford law professor and head of the UC Berkeley business school, had been the state finance director in the Schwarzenegger Administration.

The blandishments for Campbell included the promise of new backing and help with fundraising.

Campbell, though running relatively well in the polls for governor — and probably the most dangerous candidate for presumptive Democratic nominee Jerry Brown in a debate — had raised barely a million dollars. His only realistic hope of winning the Republican gubernatorial primary was to slide through if Whitman and Poizner savaged one another.

In the Senate primary, he could start off in the lead with residual name ID from two earlier Senate runs. There he would face only one rich candidate, ex-Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, and far right Orange County Assemblyman Chuck DeVore.

Campbell listened to this and began seriously mulling the prospect of switching races. He did just that last month.

And when he made the move, he had newfound support.

George Shultz, secretary of state in the Reagan Administration and secretary of the treasury in the Nixon Administration, was suddenly Campbell’s new campaign chair. Shultz put aside his differences with Campbell on abortion, gay rights, and the Middle East (Campbell is far less pro-Israel) in making the move.

Campbell picked up a fundraiser, too. Kristin Hueter, a top Whitman fundraiser, made the move to the new Team Campbell. Hueter had previously worked for Schwarzenegger.

When I reached him, Bob White acknowledged that he was involved in the effort to get Campbell to switch from the governor’s race to the Senate race. But he said that his role wasn’t as central as other sources said it was.

White had been very involved in bringing former Secretary of State Shultz, now ensconced at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, into the Schwarzenegger orbit when the action movie superstar mounted his swiftly jury-rigged campaign for governor in the 2003 California recall election.

White and his old boss, former Governor Wilson, who like Shultz is a Hoover Institution fellow, played a major role in bringing Shultz into one of the seminal events of Schwarzenegger’s career, his ballyhooed economic “summit” at an LA airport hotel. Schwarzenegger already had his longtime friend, Democrat Warren Buffett, on board, but needed a big name Republican. Shultz and Buffett co-chaired Schwarzenegger’s economic task force meeting behind closed doors, then played good-natured sidekicks on stage after at Schwarzenegger’s massively attended press conference, allowing themselves to be publicly dominated by the Hollywood showman. (That was the event at which Schwarzenegger chastised his longtime friend Buffett for musing in the Wall Street Journal that California’s Prop 13 needed to be changed, telling him next time that happened he’d have to do 500 sit-ups.)

As a congressman, Campbell was an ally of then Senator Pete Wilson. As a state senator following his first race for the U.S. Senate in 1992, he was an ally of then Governor Pete Wilson. And, naturally, of Wilson chief of staff White.

After Bill Bradley’s story broke and Steve Poizner started beating Meg over the head with her attempt to force him from the race, Tom Campbell’s money suddenly dries up.

Fancy that.

But, it makes sense, doesn’t it that Meg Whitman told her donors to ratchet back the association with Campbell – at least until the last minute where reporting would not be as visible to disclosure? I mean she doesn’t want to look like a uber-rich bully king-maker, does she?

Now, we have to wait and watch.

Has Tom Campbell’s fundraising dried up because Whitman pulled the plug, have donors become uncomfortable with an anti-Israel candidate who associates with Islamic terrorists or has Meg Whitman temporarily suspended funraising for her boy, Campbell, until late in May when disclosure will be hopefully lost in the fray of television ads and campaign hoopla?

California voters will be watching.

One Comment

  • Kingion

    Tom Campbell’s fundraising failed because he just doesn’t know how to deal with this kind of problems. By the way, great picture for this article.