March 1st, 2010
05:06 PM ET
4 years ago

Brown to announce gubernatorial bid Tuesday

(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


Filed under: California • Jerry Brown • Popular Posts
soundoff (131 Responses)
  1. Clark1b

    amazing ... both he and his dad were horrible for the California econonmy and loved to spend our money .... why in the world would anybody want to vote him back into office?

    March 1, 2010 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  2. Diana

    I'm a Californian and I'd DEFINATELY take my chance over those two Republicans. One who NEVER EVEN VOTED IN HER ENTIRE LIFE!

    March 1, 2010 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  3. Joshua Ludd

    California! Uber Alles! California Uber Alles!

    The Dead Kennedys were right!

    March 1, 2010 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  4. Nathaniel P

    Go Jerry! Sorry, Meg, no "Buy It Now!" button for CA governorship.

    March 1, 2010 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  5. Anonymous

    "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."

    You've got to be kidding me. Those who are currently serving in government are a key reason that our state is in the condition it's in. I can expand this to the country as well. We need professionals...just not professional politicians or lawyers. Doctors, businessmen/women, law enforcement, military, engineers/scientists, etc need to get involved more.

    March 1, 2010 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  6. Stu Ackerman

    Actually, Brown's policies were not disastrous for California. They were great and he was a good governor. People tend to think that because Howard Jarvis's Proposition 13 passed during Brown's term that he is responsible for the crumbling of the state's infrastructure. In fact, he balanced the budget. When he left office, California's schools were #1 in the nation. Now, they are the worst. All of the budget problems and trouble with our state services are the direct result of Proposition 13 and the continued hew and cry to further cut spending without saying what spending we will cut. Where is this waste people keep screaming about? True, property taxes needed to be lowered in the '70s, but Jarvis went to far. Don't paint Brown with that brush.

    March 1, 2010 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  7. War919

    I will be casting my vote for Meg. I agree with Four and the Door; what we need now is someone who can run a business, not another worthless, family dynasty, career-politician.

    March 1, 2010 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  8. Don't ask but I'll tell ya anyway

    Meg does not have a prayer for votes in the Bay Area or Greater LA. I'll vote for Jerry!

    March 1, 2010 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  9. J

    My god, how old is that guy? He has been around forever.

    March 1, 2010 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  10. Mike in La

    Sorry Gov. Moon Beam but I had quite enough of you the first time. Electing another idiot on top of all the current batch of idiots in Sacramento will not solve our problems as long as they continue to spend more than you have.

    March 1, 2010 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  11. A beard

    I always loved the Republican pro-business rhetoric about "managing a business for success." Yeah, corporate America (all of it) sure has done a rousing job running the country into the ground, let's have the whole gang over for dinner and hand over the keys to the executive branch (since they won't have any conflict's of interest, not like all those Wall St. bankers running the Fed, etc.) Really??? Regardless, what California doesn't need is another wanna-be repub governator. Whitman's social conservatism (pro-Prop 8 and Prop 4) will lose her any audience with the people that matter in the state (i.e. those with money). She can cowtow all she wants to the folks along in the central valley (hell, I'd just as soon grant them to AZ and NV anyway) but she won't win where it matters.

    March 1, 2010 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  12. Not a good idea

    This mans silly policies still haunt this state. He was no good the first time and I don't think he is a fine wine getting better with age!

    March 1, 2010 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  13. TCVAN

    Brown was also waaaay too slow in protecting California's huge farm industry during the fruit fly invasion. The idiot wanted to "study" it for a while....then they had to spend 100 times more when it became like an epidemic. He's already proved what he is......an idiot.

    March 1, 2010 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  14. JJinCVCA

    I love how Arnold Schwarzenegger's become a veritable nobody amoung Republicans in and out of California.

    In California Meg Whitman's been bombarding the airwaves with vague commercials about what she'd do to "fix" California, followed by negative commercials about fellow Republican Steve Poizner, and comparing him to evil Democrats.

    The bottomline is this: California is the same boat as every other state. The problems in California will not be fixed until the federal government is fixed and the economy as a whole improves.

    The economy will fix itself eventually reguardless of the political party, thus fixing California's problems. But it won't be thanks to Meg Whitman alone.

    March 1, 2010 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  15. Not again!

    Especially THIS time - we, in California cannot afford another spend-spend-spend Liberal. That's what the Liberal legislature has done for years - and that's why CA is in the tank!

    NO BROWN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 1, 2010 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  16. Cederico

    Most people in CA today probably won't remember his terms in office. Its been like almost 30 years and there have been many millions who have loved in or out of the state and of course many might have been too young at the time.

    So I don't think he will be hurt too much by memories of his previous terms.

    March 1, 2010 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  17. Jake

    They say an addict has to hit rock bottom before he can accept he needs to reform. If California elects Brown you'll hear the thud around the globe.

    March 1, 2010 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  18. malia

    It is pretty simple, the next governor of California will be Meg Whitman. California does not want a rehash – Jerry Brown should retire...

    The liberals have destroyed California...

    March 1, 2010 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  19. Kevin

    "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."

    Umm Hello have you seen what happened to New Jersey. Business men/women do not do well in politics with the exception of Michael Bloomberg. Statistics have shown that being a good "Manager" does not translate into success in politics, it's a whole different monster. You can't force your employees (citizens) to abide by corporate rules, policies like in a corporation. There is a lot of bipartisanship involved with politics. The do as I say attitude doesn't work in politics. Just my opinion. Not saying Jerry Brown is the answer, but just because Meg Whitman did well with ebay does not mean she will be a suitable governor. Not to mention, Whitman's last years with eBay werent the best... how bout the horrible investment in Skype, and the consistent drop in ebay's revenue over the past 5-10 years. There's another well written article on cnn that discusses these matters.

    March 1, 2010 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  20. Pub17

    No, you're thinking of Ronald Reagan, Rick McDaniel, who TRIPLED the state budget while in office.

    March 1, 2010 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  21. patsy

    Brown's the only choice to make for California. He knows government inside and out and all Whitman knows is how to bully with her millions. Just like so many other Republicans, her first thought for slicing the budget is social programs. Right now, if it weren't for what's left of the social programs there would be some very hungry people out there, especially if no federal unemployment extension comes about.

    March 1, 2010 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  22. Dan Dement - Independent!!!!

    CA's vast problems can be traced back to Jerry Brown's two terms as CA governor. Why would anyone who works for a living want another life-long, entitlement program-loving politician in Sacramento? Electing Meg Whitman and other legislators who understand what it takes to get business growing again are the only hope for CA.

    March 1, 2010 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  23. Scott in PacNW

    "Brown's fiscal policies"? I didn't know he supported Prop 13. Talk about a disaster...

    March 1, 2010 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  24. Patti

    California needs Liberatarian leadership. In the long run, it's the only hope.

    March 1, 2010 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  25. CA_tech

    wonder if meg rolls out her purchase of skype as fiscal strategy...

    March 1, 2010 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
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