- Sen. Rand Paul: ‘I am seriously thinking about’ running for president in 2016
- Sleet, ice, deepfreeze hit large swath of U.S.
- ‘Welcome to the edge of freedom’: Biden’s boots touch down in DMZ
- Obama: Hole U.S. ‘digging out of’ requires billions more in unemployment benefits
- Obama’s regulatory agenda will cost U.S. economy $143B next year: report
- Patriot Act author on James Clapper: Fire, prosecute him
- Russia P.M. Medvedev: No amnesty for political prisoners
- Michigan GOP Senate hopeful reminds government is the ‘servant’
- Christmas, by Congress: Members mull a 15-cent tax on trees
- U.S. unemployment falls to five-year low of 7 percent; 203K jobs added
Brown’s gubernatorial bid a blast from past
He can no longer comb his black hair — he went bald years ago — and he finally junked the beat-up blue Plymouth that once was his trademark ride. His days of dating celebrities are over; in fact, he gave up his decades-long reign as California’s most confirmed bachelor three years ago when he married for the first time.
Much has changed for Edmund G. “Jerry” Brown Jr. in the 31 years since he last ran for governor of California. Except that he’s running for governor again.
At age 71, Mr. Brown is seeking to pull off one of the more audacious second acts in recent political history with his highly anticipated 2010 gubernatorial bid. If and when he announces his candidacy for the Democratic nomination, which could happen at any time, he would be seeking a third term that would begin 28 years after the end of his second.
The math works only because he began his career as a political wunderkind.
In 1974, Mr. Brown, whose father governed the state in the 1960s, was elected governor of California at the age of 36, ushered into office at the height of the post-Watergate backlash as the candidate of new energy, good government and fresh ideas. He was a full generation younger than his predecessor, Ronald Reagan, who had retired that year to pursue a presidential bid.
Running as the hip, young face of the future is no longer plausible, so Mr. Brown appears ready to reinvent himself as the candidate of experience. In his speeches and other public remarks, he often refers to his tenure in office from 1975 to ‘83 as a kind of golden age when the economy was strong, crime was low and California’s public schools were regarded as among the best in the nation.
“Things have gone downhill since I left Sacramento, big time,” he told Democrats at the 2008 Democratic state convention.
It’s a message that may be reaching voters already, given the state’s historic economic crisis. Polls taken in the past month show Mr. Brown consistently leading San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom in head-to-head match-ups for the Democratic gubernatorial nod.
Two polls released last week found Mr. Brown ahead of his 42-year-old rival both statewide and in San Francisco. A survey taken by Sacramento’s Moore Methods showed Mr. Brown leading Mr. Newsom among state voters by a margin of 49 percent to 20 percent.
Another poll, taken Aug. 15 through 18 by David Binder Research of 423 likely Democratic voters in San Francisco, showed Mr. Brown with a comfortable edge over the mayor, 51 percent to 34 percent, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Mr. Newsom, who has officially declared his candidacy for governor, also can’t match Mr. Brown’s commanding fundraising lead.
The Republicans aren’t exactly conceding the 2010 race. Even though Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s popularity is dropping, the Republican Party has three strong candidates touting their credentials as economic problem-solvers in former Rep. Tom Campbell, state Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner and former eBay President Meg Whitman.
Political analysts note that Mr. Brown’s early lead probably can be attributed to his virtually universal name recognition — there are few in California who don’t know him, either from his previous career or his current position as attorney general. One wild card: Sen. Dianne Feinstein, California Democrat, who would become the instant front-runner if she entered the race.
“There are two types of Democratic supporters: You have older voters who remember him fondly as governor in the 1970s, but a lot more are interested because of what he’s accomplished more recently,” said California Republican analyst Dan Schnur. “Every Democrat in California knows Jerry Brown for different reasons.”
At the same time, Mr. Schnur said, “at this point the election is all about name recognition.”
Still, the early polling is impressive for the man once jeered as “Governor Moonbeam” and whose political obituary was written repeatedly throughout 1980s and 1990s. He tried for years to persuade voters to send him to Washington, running unsuccessfully for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1976, 1980 and 1992. He sought the Senate seat vacated by California Sen. S.I. Hayakawa in 1982 but lost badly to Republican Pete Wilson.
About the Author
Valerie Richardson covers politics and the West from Denver. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Colorado judge: Bakery owner discriminated against gay couple
- Fast-food protests spur backlash
- 'Hunger Games' delivers Obama's message on income inequality
- Gay couple's complaint against Colo. baker gets hearing
- Fracking supporters fire back at 'woefully misinformed' celebrities
Latest Blog Entries
- Obama: Hole U.S. 'digging out of' requires billions more in unemployment benefits
- Spike in battlefield deaths linked to restrictive rules of engagement
- Bill OReilly reminds: Nelson Mandela was a communist
- PRUDEN: British press horrified as London's new mayor dares to proclaim the truth
- Activists urge Obama to go rogue, sidestep Congress
- Obama tries to calm Israeli fears over Iranian nuke deal 'not based on trust'
- 'Hunger Games' delivers Obama's message on income inequality
- Obamas call to close Vatican embassy is 'slap in the face' to Roman Catholics
- Craigslist killers: Police say newlyweds stabbed man for thrills
- Dick Cheney: Family feud over gay marriage has been 'dealt with'
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Get in the middle of all the action inside and outside the boxing ring.
Opinion, analysis, and musings on politics, pop culture, reinvention, and the resultant flotsam and jetsam floating around the right-of-center quadrant of the Left Coast.
The cold hard truth about politics in America today and the state of this once great nation.
Find the latest news and happening that effect those in the Washington D.C., Northern Virginia and Maryland Metro region.
White House pets gone wild!