Can Meg Whitman win in California? Maybe

October 21, 2010, 5:45 PM UTC

by Patricia Sellers

I’m just back from a week in California and still on vacation–technically. But I’m speaking about my favorite topic, Women and Power, tonight in Boston and have a couple more speaking gigs next week. So I’ll check in on Postcards occasionally.

Speaking of Women and Power, whip-smart Karen Tumulty, who used to write for TIME and is now at the Washington Post, emailed me this story about Meg Whitman that she published this week. As I told Karen, her piece is one of the most astute assessments of the former eBay CEO’s race for governor of California.

The latest polls show Whitman and Democratic rival Jerry Brown, who served as governor years ago, neck and neck. Karen makes the case that Whitman’s remarkably sophisticated ground operation–powered by micro-targeting software and more–plus her $139 million in personal spending could deliver her the win. That $139 million is record output for a non-Presidential candidate.

Candidate Whitman–whom I wrote about in a 2009 Fortune cover story–declined to talk to Tumulty. But she quotes from an interview that I did with Whitman at the Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit last year.