By tossing in another $15-million to her gubernatorial campaign, Meg Whitman made headlines all over the country spending the most money by an individual candidate on one election. She topped New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg by $10-million and counting. Whitman is up to $119-million; Bloomberg spent nearly $109-million in his 2009 re-election race.

Jerry Brown’s campaign, not to mention the media, continue to make an issue of Whitman’s money. There is no question these are eye-popping amounts.

The hard dollar total is a record of one kind, but with political math there is always more than one way to count a dollar. Whitman spent more than Michael Bloomberg in total dollars, that’s a fact. But, she’s got a ways to go to cover what Bloomberg spent per registered voter. There are about 4 million registered voters in New York City. Bloomberg spent over $27.00 per voter when he laid out his $109 million. With Whitman’s $119 million she has spent about $8.50 per voter give or take, only a third of what Bloomberg spent per voter.

Do the large campaign contributions matter?

Yes, they must be part of the discussion. The question of fairness is often raised when heavy spending occurs. However, fairness cannot be calculated simply by adding up dollars. More dollars from one candidate can offset another candidate’s advantage in incumbency, or name ID, or some other advantage that is not calculated by money.

Too often the argument over fairness in the political system leads to new frustrating rules and regulations that just complicates the system. Old timers in the legislature, like former Assemblyman Bill Bagley, have argued that changing some rules in the name of fairness, such as prohibiting lobbyists to host get-togethers of elected officials, has led to the unintended consequence of a less collegial, more rigid, uncompromising legislature.

But, I digress. One wonders how the average voter will react to Whitman’s ability to drop so much money on her political ambitions.

Meg’s money is a double-edged sword. It certainly gets her message to the voters. But, with the disdain many people have for politics now-a-days, some are probably wondering why anyone would want to spend this kind of money to help gain a political post. Some voters will resent Whitman’s bankroll and the way she is using it.

However, let’s not forget that the person whose record she broke is currently addressed as Mr. Mayor. The money issue didn’t seem to hurt him at the polls.

Money can’t buy happiness or political victories. Just ask the execs over at Pacific Gas & Electric who spent $46 million to pass Proposition 16 in June’s election and overwhelmed their opponents $100,000, but came away with nothing to show for it.

In the end, the voters are going to care about which is the best candidate to be governor. If Whitman convinces voters she is the best candidate, she will prevail. If not, she will join a line of rich candidates who could not get elected even though they outspent their opponents by wide margins.