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Meg Whitman Spends $140M, Still Locked in Tight Race

AP
California Republican candidate Meg Whitman

Meg Whitman, California's Republican candidate for governor, has spent a record-breaking $140 million on her campaign so far, according to campaign finance records.

The former eBay CEO has put $119 million of her own money into the race and is prepared to invest as much as $150 million of her own fortune, the Sacramento Bee reports.

While she has surpassed New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg to become the candidate who has spent the most personal money on a campaign in American political history, Whitman remains locked in a tight race against Democratic candidate and California Attorney General Jerry Brown.

A Reuters/Ipsos poll released Tuesday showed Brown leading Whitman 50 percent to 43 percent among likely voters. The Whitman campaign released its own polling yesterday that showed the candidates virtually tied, with Brown at 43 percent and Whitman at 41 percent among all voters. Among those considered most likely to vote, the candidates were deadlocked, 44 percent to 44 percent.

In contrast to Whitman's big spending, Brown has spent just $11 million so far, according to the Bee. Brown, however, had no serious primary challengers and has benefited from the support of union-funded groups, which have spent about $13 million campaigning against Whitman. The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees reportedly spent an additional $2 million on television ads opposing Whitman.

The race was recently shaken up by Whitman's former housekeeper, who alleges that Whitman kept her employed in her household even though Whitman knew about her status as an undocumented immigrant. The allegations highlight the candidates' positions on illegal immigration and threaten to hurt Whitman's standing with the Latino community, a key voting bloc in California.

However, 72 percent of voters surveyed in the Reuters/Ipsos poll said the allegations made no difference in their preferences in the race. Whitman's internal poll shows the Republican winning 30 percent of the Hispanic vote, compared with 45 percent for Brown.

CBSNews.com Special Report: Campaign 2010

Stephanie Condon is a political reporter for CBSNews.com. You can read more of her posts here. Follow Hotsheet on Facebook and Twitter.