(CNN) – California Attorney General Jerry Brown plans to announce Tuesday that he's entering the race to be his state's next governor, three sources confirm to CNN.
If elected, this would be the second time around for Brown, who served two terms as California Governor from 1975-1983. Already Brown has amassed at least a $12 million dollar war chest and he has attracted the support of big Hollywood kingmakers; David Geffen, Jeffrey Katzenberg and Steven Spielberg are among those who have publicly endorsed him. So far no other big name Democrats are in the race; San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, once presumed to be Brown's fiercest primary opponent, dropped out of the contest last October.
The most recent surveys of California voters, conducted in mid-January by the Public Policy Institute and the Field Poll, indicate Brown leading the top Republican candidates – besting Meg Whitman by 5 to 10 points; and topping State Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner by 15 to 17 points.
One top Democratic donor who was torn between backing Brown and former eBay CEO Whitman tells CNN," this is not the time in California's history to have someone who has never served in Government deal with our problems." This would be Whitman's first time in public office; both she and Poinzer are pouring tens of millions of dollars from their own fortunes into their races.
When Brown left office the first time, he was a controversial figure. He was California's youngest governor since the turn of the 20th century and the son of former two-term Gov. Pat Brown. He also gained national attention for dating Linda Ronstadt and sleeping on a futon in an apartment to save money on staffing the governor's mansion. He earned the nickname Governor Moonbeam after he proposed buying space on a satellite to enhance state communications in the event of an emergency; that's now common practice and the former Governor insists he's vindicated.
In an interview with CNN conducted last year Brown said he was ahead of his time in other areas as well: promoting alternative energy production, encouraging diversity in government hiring, and reigning in government spending. Brown said he's not surprised he was mocked, telling CNN: "There's a certain regression to the mean in politics. Things tend to mediocrity," and adding that his policies "in a very dramatic and forceful way set the pace for the whole country."
He hopes to do the same now. Brown has run for President, studied Buddhism, traveled with Mother Theresa, and served two terms as Mayor of Oakland. He still retains some of his 1970s consciousness-raising way of thinking. When asked how he would solve California's debilitating budget gap and its ongoing legislative gridlock he said the answer is "a collective learning by the state."
While Republican Meg Whitman is proposing a state constitutional convention to fix their legislative mess, Brown tends to the abstract.
He told CNN: "If we don't forge this creative consensus, California will deteriorate and it'll just be the beginning of a larger deterioration in our country. I can contribute in a positive way of getting to this more enlightened state, this more accommodating, collaborative, state of representation."
Also in the race? Actress and socialite Zsa Zsa Gabor's husband Prince Frederic von Anhalt says he's running as an independent. Von Anhalt gained national notoriety when he claimed paternity of Anna Nicole Smith's daughter.
–CNN's Paul Steinhauser contributed to this story
Brown's fiscal policies were disastrous for California, in his previous terms. You would think Californians wouldn't have that short a memory.
One top Democratic donor who was torn between backing Brown and former eBay CEO Whitman tells CNN," this is not the time in California's history to have someone who has never served in Government deal with our problems."
This is the best time to have someone who is not a career politician come in and help solve California's fiscal problems. And Meg Whitman knows how to do that. It involves managing not just spending. Meg is an expert in managing for success.
Governor Moonbeam is BBBBBAAAAACCCCCKKKKK !
Really? I heard that Brown was a good Gov. for the state and that be balanced the budget without rasing taxes? Hmm cause you know that's bad. Next Pete Wilson will be the best Gov ever. Whitman doesn't have any experince except ebay and no just because she ran Ebay good which she did doesn't mean she can run the state the same way.
Yet another failed Liberal. Will these people ever learn?
Brown again? He didn't do a good job the first time around.
Seriously?? At this time more than ever is when we need some one who is not a career politician in office to lead us out of this mess that CAREER POLITICIANS created. The public are sheep...
Wake up California. We need someone who has NOT been around the political bloc. We need someone new, and fresh. Jerry Brown had his time as governor. Lets move on to something new!
Finally an experienced politician & not an opportunistic former CEO incapable or unwilling to answer questions.
I agree that "this is not the time in California's history to have someone who has never served in Government deal with our problems." If Californians want Rebublicans to run our state we need to vote for them
in the CA legislature.
Yeah, Meg's great. Maybe she can have California buy Skype this time and still forget to get the core technology.
I am very glad to hear he's running. We need someone with experience running this state. California's economy is larger than all but six or seven countries in the world, so we can't afford to risk having another political neophyte as governor.
Unlike Meg Whitman, Jerry Brown has voted in this state in the past 20 years.
"This is the best time to have someone who is not a career politician come in and help solve California's fiscal problems." - Oh, yes, that describes our current governor, who has done SUCH a stellar job.
Governor of the largest state in the union is not an entry level position. Sorry.
Yep, an old fashion liberal sure will improve things in California. When will they learn????????????
Yes, Meg did a great job in the private sector with eBay, but governing CA is a different animal. She can say all she wants, but she will find out just like arnold did that it's really out of the governor's hands. It's all up to those goons in the state legislature. You know, the ones who year after year are late with a budget. They don't care, and until they do, or until they are thrown out of office (which the governor can NOT do) there won't be any change for us.
Jerry Brown will be a great governor! He has a deep knowledge of and commitment to California's people. He has served as a mayor of a large city and as one of our best Attorney Generals. He has the experience and know-how to maneuvre his way around the intricacies of state and local governments – unlike his challenger Ms. Whitman who hasn't lived here even 20 years.
I agee completely with the person who said "this is not the time in California's history to have someone who has never served in Government deal with our problems!"
Maybe there's some hope for California now.
Affluent Californians are probably PO’d on what a joke the Governator is making California. They have plenty of money to make the state work well and unlike some they are willing to use it.
"You would think Californians wouldn't have that short a memory."
Why not? America already seems to have forgotten 2000-2008 and why we are where we are right now. You know...all th ecrying about reconciliation for example...can you tell me how many times the GOPers used it? Is your memory too short to remember last year and how many proposals were filibustered versus how many from 2000-2006 when the GOPers had the majority? Please. You average American wouldn't remember what he/she had for breakfast if the poor ignorant slob hadn't spilled some of it on his/her shirt this morning.
This is the best time to have someone who is not a career politician come in and help solve California's fiscal problems.
Hey, who is that "career politician" in governor's mansion anyway? I tend to forget his long name, so I call him Governator.
why not just outsource government to india? it would probably be run better and cheaper!
why not simply outsource all of government to india? it would probably run better and cheaper!
California, uber alles.
The ONLY thing Meg Whitman has ever done professionally, is increase ebay profits on the backs of sellers, by charging the sellers more.
Her non existent governance background – from never getting around to voting in elections, to refusing to debate fellow candidates – would seem to knock her out. Yet her record setting ca$h outlays are keeping her in the race.
God help us all if her money gets her into office.