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. Peter H

    Ah well, so we will have another Republican Governor for Califoria.

    March 1, 2010 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  2. DAVE N CA

    this state is a ses pool for spend happy democrats who bow down to the illegals, and unions who are draining this state dry.... I have lived here my entire life and will be trying as hard as i can to get the hell out of it... i am so tired of watching tax dollars go to those who don't belong or workers who use their union contracts to save their jobs when they shouldn't even have a job..... it is a shame that our country has become so geared towards this style of jobs that are destroying states and our economy......

    March 1, 2010 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  3. J in LA

    Jerry Brown has a long history of being the best of both: progressive in his thinking and conservative in his fiscal policies. And his ideas about using satellites to enhance the reliability of state communications in the event of a disaster were down right prophetic!

    It couldn’t be more obvious that Jerry Brown is exactly what California needs to take the helm and guide us through these rough waters. I couldn't be more thrilled that he is planning to run and my money will be on the winner. No doubt about it!

    March 1, 2010 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  4. Daniel

    Go for it,Jerry!To be serious,the real solution to California's economic woes is not more budget cuts,but a new means to raise the revenue.I never thought proposition 13 was a very good idea in spite of the fact that it was quite politically popular at that time.Arnold Schwarzenegger simply "joined the teem" of right-wing politicians who care only for themselves and the already wealthy.One great solution is to curtail the runaway military spending that these right-wing fanatics call "necessary".Enough with these right-wing nutjobs!

    March 1, 2010 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  5. rod

    Are you kidding me?????This guy was a disaster for Calif last timwe around.......go smoke some more Moonbeam......

    March 1, 2010 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  6. Anton

    The kids will spend all day in school!

    March 1, 2010 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  7. Doug

    I'm a life long Democrat, but I have to be honest. Jerry Brown's time has passed. The problems that confront California are in a way unprecedented and monumental, and cannot be solved by a politician (just look at Washington these days). Not sure Meg Whitman is the answer either. California really needs almost a comander -and-chief with good business acumen to turn things around. I don't live in California, but I love the state and wish it only the best. sorry...

    ..Doug

    March 1, 2010 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  8. Brian

    I hope that Californians elect a very competent LT Governor.

    March 1, 2010 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  9. Edmundo Castro

    The last thing Californians need is another Big Corporate Greedy Feer Mongering CEO Republican to run California, I don't think Californians are that stupid to do another mistake like electing Arnold S. If Meg gets elected, then I have one warning for Californians, you will be without a job because Meg's past employer Ebay and Paypal outsoure their Customer Service jobs actually Ebay itself doesn't even have a main 800 number for customer service, thats how cheap greedy the company is.

    March 1, 2010 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  10. All for it

    Anything but homophobe/ultra-conservative Meg Whitman. With her lack of experience, there's no way she can take the state in the direction it needs to go in.

    March 1, 2010 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  11. Another Reformed Republican

    At least Brown is better than the Republicans who are running! Meg Whitman is just another republican without ethics and morals. As for business experience, she did a pretty good job of screwing up Ebay.

    March 1, 2010 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  12. ExGOPDad

    Gee - just what California needs, another person with no experience in public office taking over the state. Arnold was a big success, so let's put Meg in, right? She wants to reduce 40,000 jobs right off the bat - great for her corporate sponsors, but lousy for the people and the economy of the state.

    March 1, 2010 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  13. admiral 149

    What a shame! Californians are still trying to dig out from The Pat, and Jerry Brown politics of tax and spend since the 1960s.

    March 1, 2010 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  14. barry

    California needs serious help. I don't think there has been a candidate name tossed around that will be able to do the job....They need a serious leader..not a pretender...

    March 1, 2010 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  15. Steve

    I'm pretty sure Brown built up one of the best state surplusses ever. So what about your short term memory Rick

    March 1, 2010 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  16. jb

    thats all california needs is this wacky left loon as governor. his policies absolutely stink. what we need to worry about is the legislation which has crippled the state, with itsillegal alien, liberal policies.

    March 1, 2010 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  17. P.D.D.

    You are kidding, right?

    March 1, 2010 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  18. Michael

    whitman, the non-voter, says she's tired of professional politicians ruiniing the state. So, in what category does she place arnold? By the way, meg, your commercials are ubiquitous, yet say absolutely nothing. Is that what you think of the voters?

    March 1, 2010 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  19. They call me "tater salad"

    After I finished High school back in 1983 I moved out to Reno Nevada for about a year and spent some time in Lake Tahoe CA.! Seems that I remember a popular bumper sticker shaped like a foot print on a lot of cars back then that said "Help stomp out Brown rot" or something like that,referring to the Governor.......Makes me wonder if this is the same guy. Apparently he wasn't too popular back then....... like I said, there were lots of cars back then with that bumper sticker on it.

    March 1, 2010 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  20. GaryB

    Most people forget that Brown was actually one of the more fiscally conservative California governors of the last 50 years. In contrast to his predecessor Ronald Reagan - who raised taxes numerous times and boosted spending by an average of 12.2 percent a year during his term, Brown increased spending by only 4.6 percent in his first year, which was less than the rate of inflation. He pushed for a balanced budget amendment (both at a state level as governor and a federal level as a presidential candidate), and - though he felt Prop 13 was financially unsustainable, once the voters approved it he led the charge in cutting the CA budget to make it compatible with the state's lower revenues. A lot of Californian's didn't like the cuts, but it was the fiscally responsible, "grown up" thing to do.

    March 1, 2010 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  21. RICK LB

    I guess Rick Mc also has a short memory as well. The Gipper / Regan not only left the state in deep debt but closed hospitals and forced many of the mentally ill onto the streets without follow up or supervision. The presence of many elderly mentally ill homeless people today is proof and part that legacy.

    March 1, 2010 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  22. Dirk

    Don't you rein in spending, not reign it in? It's like the reins on a horse, not crown royalty. I think he was famous for reining in spending.

    March 1, 2010 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  23. NO MORE BROWN

    No thanx to another ridiculous democrat – CA needs NO MORE BLEEDING HEARTS – U ARE THE REASON CA IS SOOOO BROKE!

    March 1, 2010 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  24. cassidy

    Disastrous Rick? Look at his record. His terms were the most fiscally conservative in living history. Way more that Reagan. As for the consequences of his actions- Silicon Valley. Apple, Google, Oracle, Sun Systems, etc. all benefited from the policies of the late seventies early eighties- his policies. Meg whitman would be a nobody without his stewardship of our state.

    March 1, 2010 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  25. valwayne

    Yeah! Gov Moonbeam is back!!!!!

    March 1, 2010 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
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