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Tonight's Brown-Whitman debate

"The two major candidates for California governor head into their final televised showdown tonight with a ‘woman’ problem dogging their campaigns - Republican Meg Whitman for her treatment of her undocumented maid, and Democrat Jerry Brown for a staffer's use of a sexist slur in referring to his opponent," the San Francisco Chronicle reports. "The San Rafael event presents the candidates with "a combination of goals," said Michael Semler, a professor of politics at Cal State Sacramento. 'They must reassure their base and get them to the polls, which is critically important for Brown, because Democrats are not as enthusiastic as Republicans' this year. In addition, Whitman and Brown must make their case to the nearly one-fifth of Californians who are 'unmotivated, undecided voters ... who are disproportionately women this year,' Semler said."

The Los Angeles Times: “NBC will co-sponsor the event, to be moderated by newsman Tom Brokaw and broadcast live by NBC outlets in the Bay Area, Eureka, Fresno, Los Angeles, Monterey, Palm Springs, Sacramento, Salinas, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Santa Maria.”

Meanwhile, the Sacramento Bee looks all the outside group spending in the Brown-Whitman contest, most of it benefitting Brown. “Republican Meg Whitman isn't the only one breaking spending records in the gubernatorial contest. Spending by independent groups seeking to influence the governor's race has hit a record-breaking $21.3 million this year, according to report compiled by the Fair Political Practices Commission.”

More: “Independent expenditures in the general election alone totaled $20.6 million as of Oct. 11, surpassing the high of $20 million set in the 2006 general election. Just $1.3 million of that sum has gone toward supporting Whitman. That cash has been spent by two groups that have endorsed the Republican nominee, the California Statewide Law Enforcement Association and Los Angeles Police Protective League. The other $20 million has been spent by largely union-funded groups backing Democrat Jerry Brown and attacking Whitman.”