Published: Thursday, Sep. 2, 2010 – 12:00 am | Page 4A

Leaders of the union-backed independent expenditure committee California Working Families said Wednesday they will take a “less visible” role in the governor’s race after spending $8.7 million running TV, radio and online ads attacking Republican candidate Meg Whitman.

The committee went on the air the week after the June 8 primary and ran several spots slamming Whitman for her record as CEO of the online auction firm eBay and her poor voting record. Whitman, a billionaire who has invested $104 million of her own money in her campaign so far, has been running paid advertising for nearly a year.

Democrat Jerry Brown hasn’t run any paid advertising yet but has promised to get more active after Labor Day.

Bob Balgenorth, president of the Building & Construction Trades Council of California, said the committee had accomplished its goal: keeping the governor’s race tied in the polls and not ceding the summer to Whitman. The committee now expects that Brown will start running his own ads.

“This is a charade,” Whitman spokeswoman Andrea Jones Rivera responded in an e-mail. “The government unions announce they are taking their ads down while Jerry Brown simultaneously announces that he is launching his first set of ads.

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