GOP gubernatorial hopeful Meg Whitman has been getting lots of campaign cash from some of San Diego’s most famous Republicans. One of the most prominent is Doug Manchester, the hotel magnate whose financial backing for Proposition 8, the anti-gay marriage measure on last November’s state ballot, caused opponents to boycott his downtown Manchester Grand Hyatt; he later offered to contribute $125,000 to gay and lesbian causes in an unsuccessful attempt to quiet the controversy. On June 22, his Manchester Financial Group gave $25,900 to Whitman, who also backed Prop 8. Former congressman Tom Campbell, one of her Republican primary opponents, favors gay marriage. The third major candidate, state insurance commissioner Steve Poizner, is generally regarded as being to the right of Whitman on social issues and is, like Whitman, a Prop 8 supporter.
Other locals anteing up $25,900 for Whitman included millionaire diet maven Jenny Craig; Marilyn Fletcher, wife of former savings-and-loan kingpin Kim Fletcher, who gave earlier; Laurie Burt; and Rancho Santa Fe’s Steve Cassidy, director of business for youreeeka. Marshall Merrifield, the wealthy security company owner who lost out in a bid for San Diego City Council last year and also failed in his recent quest to become a San Diego port commissioner, kicked in $15,900. Daniel Barry of Barry Estates, Inc., gave $10,000, as did James Catledge of Impact Resort Marketing. Lehn and Richard Goetz, owners of Café Coyote and Trophy Properties, Inc., gave a total of $10,000 in catering services. Louis Schooler, president of Western Financial Planning, was a $5000 donor. Kirk Haney, president of SG Biofuels in Encinitas, contributed $5000.
Poizner’s only local big contributor for the period was Escondido’s Joe Jubela, who made his fortune selling tires. He gave $10,000.
Meanwhile, ex–Democratic congresswoman Lynn Schenk gave $6500 to the gubernatorial campaign of Jerry Brown, for whom she worked when he was governor back in the 1970s and early ’80s. Richard Bloch, a founder of the Phoenix Suns basketball team and a resident of Rancho Santa Fe, gave Brown $6500.