nomination at the convention in early February.
"I'll spend what it will take to win," the 51-year-old Jesson said.
Big spending isn't foreign to the race for the state's highest office.
In the 1998 primary, Davis spent $8.4 million to defeat Jane Harman, who
raised $16.2 million, and Al Checchi, who raised $40.8 million.
And don't expect the checkbooks to stay closed among Jesson's leading,
formidable opponents -- former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan,
Secretary of State Bill Jones and businessman Bill Simon.
Jesson has tacked up signs along Beach Boulevard and other major
thoroughfares urging voters to "Stop Agenda 21" and vote for him.
The pledge to spend a portion of his own personal fortune does give
Jesson more credibility than the handful of other Republican candidates,
including Newport Beach resident Edie Bukewihge, who are expected to
raise little or no money, political analyst Mark Petracca said.
However, Jesson will have to reach a large audience, Petracca said.
"You can't do it at the local level," said Petracca, the chair of UC
Irvine's political science department. "Bringing $9 million to the table
is nice, but putting up signs in Newport Beach and Irvine isn't going to
win you the governor."
So far, Jesson is billing himself as "the true conservative" in the
race -- pro-life, supportive of Second Amendment gun rights and opposed
to government taxation.
Jesson wants to abolish state-collected income tax and the California
Franchise Tax Board.
Jesson has criticized Davis' management of the budget, saying the
governor is ignoring $424 million in reserve funds when he talks about
the looming shortfall.
In his 2002-03 fiscal year budget, Davis said the state would face a
$12 billion deficit due to a slumping economy, the energy crisis and
"The governor has been very forward and honest about our budget," said
Roger Salazar, a Davis spokesman. "We're going to have to make some tough
cuts and do some borrowing to make it through this year."
Jesson's cryptic opposition to Agenda 21 on his campaign signs is a