Ever since she won the Republican nomination, California candidate for governor Meg Whitman has aggressively backtracked from her primary campaign’s harsh anti-immigration reform stance and courted Latino support through Spanish-language ads, billboards, and special campaign websites.
Today, though, BeyondChron notes a flaw in Whitman’s minority outreach efforts — she’s refused to attend this Saturday’s California Gubernatorial Faith Forum, “an event where each candidate for Governor and Lieutenant Governor will separately answer questions from an audience of mostly African American and Hispanic church members.”
Last week, KTVU reported on the so-called “scheduling conflict” preventing Whitman from attending the forum:
Earlier this month, the Whitman campaign sent a letter saying she could not attend because of a scheduling conflict.
But KTVU has looked at a series of back and forth communications between the Whitman campaign and the faith forum organizers and it appears that if there really is a scheduling conflict, it came up very recently.
Back in May, the Whitman campaign wrote ‘We aren’t scheduling yet for the month of July. We will be back in touch with you.’ Despite back and forth emails for nearly two months, the Whitman campaign gave no answer until just over a week ago when Whitman declined the invitation. …
In the past two days, KTVU asked Whitman’s spokeswoman to explain what the scheduling conflict with the forum was. Despite repeated phone conversations and emails, we never got an answer.
As a political science professor quoted in the article notes, “Let’s face it; campaigns use scheduling conflict as a way to excuse something that they don’t want to do.” Loran Simon, one of the event’s organizers, thinks “it is not her priority or there is no appetite to come and have a conversation with this community.” Jerry Brown, the Democratic nominee for governor, and Abel Maldonado, GOP nominee for lieutenant governor, will both attend the forum.
Beyond this incident, BeyondChron’s Harrison Chastang reports that Whitman’s campaign has also refused to engage with African-American media in the state through ads or interviews:
Whitman’s has reportedly spent a record $50 million dollars on TV, radio and print ads with the promise of spending just as much, or more between now and the November election. African American owned media outlet throughout the state say that the Whitman campaign has not spent a dime on radio or print ads with the Black owned media. …
Joe Stinson, sales director for the Black owned Sacramento Observer, said that the Whitman campaign has not only refused to buy any ads in their paper, but that the Whitman campaign did not respond to repeated invitations to appear before the Observer’s editorial board. Stinson said the Whitman campaign was also personally contacted by the West Coast Black Newspaper Publishers Association, an organization that represents Black owned newspapers throughout California. Officials with other Black owned newspapers and radio stations around California say they have not received a dime in advertising revenue from the Whitman campaign.
Chastang compares Whitman to California’s Republican nominee for Senate, Carly Fiorina, who “appeared unannounced at a South Central Los Angeles Juneteenth event, a bold decision in that African American audiences like the LA Juneteenth crowds can be hostile to conservative Republican candidates.” He argues Fiorina “gave the impression that if she defeats Barbara Boxer, her door will be open to African Americans — even if they did not vote for her in large numbers.”