Meg Whitman, Republican gubernatorial candidate for the state of California, lost Tuesday night to her Democratic opponent and former Attorney General, Jerry Brown.
Whitman held her final convention at the Hilton Hotel in Universal City California. The later the night got, the more the number of press and supporters grew, crowding the ballroom. Every space available was filled with poppy flower posters and â€œMeg 2010â€ rally sticks.
Whitman, former CEO of eBay Inc., spent a record $141.5 million from her personal funds as well as an estimated $20 million in contributions from voters.
Throughout the campaign, the majority of Whitmanâ€™s spending resided in television advertisements in which she slandered and hammered Brownâ€™s past, present and future political actions.
Concerning education, which as of late has suffered, Whitman could not ignore student worries.
Continual tuition increases over the past two years have hit the students of California, and more specifically, Cal State Universities.
Cal State Fullerton received a 5-percent increase in tuition and it will continue to increase in the succeeding semesters. This issue of education was a key topic and was addressed relentlessly throughout Whitman and Brownsâ€™ campaigns.
Regarding this dilemma that has plagued the education system and has been felt by the students of CSUF, Whitman promised to invest $1 billion into the University of California and the CSU. This monetary assistance to the public universities, Whitman proposed, would come from her welfare savings and various other budgetary reforms.
On all other issues, Whitman leaned to the right as her party expected of her, but played on a new angle– the angle of business.
In classic Calvin Coolidge style, encouraging ideals such as the â€œbusiness of America is business,â€ but with slightly different word play, Whitman pushed upon voters that what California needed was a little business management.
Polls depicted days prior and on Tuesday, that Brown was edging his way away from Whitman, and the polls were correct.
Sharon Runner, former California state assembly member, took the stage first with her husband George Runner, a state senator, to address the crowd. They did not admit defeat.
â€œIt is a historic night that a woman, especially a Republican woman, has come this close to becoming governor of California,â€ Sharon said.
As early as 9 p.m., the Los Angeles Times and CNN projected Brown as the winner.
Yet, when former Gov. Pete Wilson took the stage at 10 p.m., he refused to admit defeat, and instead pumped up the crowd.
â€œNews outlets are projecting that the difference right now (between Brown and Whitman) is 89,000 votes, which is not nearly enough,â€ Wilson said. â€œIt will be another long night, but I expect it to end in victory.â€
Regardless, Whitmanâ€™s stance on education, new ideas of leading California and willingness to be the fresh face in California politics, students and Californians chose a different path.
â€œThank you for being apart of this cause to fix California,â€ Whitman said. â€œ I gave it my all and so did you. I have just called Governor elect Brown to wish him well and it looks like the results are in and it is time now for Californians to unite.â€