Brown's eyes fixed on state mansion

Chris Amico Apr. 30, 2008, 11:57am

Speculation is growing that Jerry Brown will run for California governor in two years. Some now say it's all but certain.

The former governor, former Oakland mayor, now attorney general (not to mention son of a governor) all but announced his plans to run again at the state Democratic convention in San Jose:

"I don't do much these days except sue people," he said, according to the LA Times. "But maybe one of these days I'll get around to doing more than that, and maybe you'll help me."

The San Francisco Chronicle's Phillip Matier and Andrew Ross say Brown is "definitely laying tracks for a return trip to his old job." They report that Brown has been meeting with party insiders, labor leaders and other backers about the possibility of going for a third term.

Brown served two terms in the state's top job, but that was before term limits, so he still could make another run. He occasionally points out in speeches that he is the last Democrat to finish eight years in the governor's mansion.

Bill Press, a radio commentator and former state party chair, all but confirmed that Brown is in.

"The morning after he arrived on the West Coast from Washington, D.C., Press said he received a call at 6:30 a.m. on his cell phone from Brown," columnist Diane Bell wrote in the San Diego Union-Tribune. "Press says Brown, governor from 1975 to 1983, is planning to run and, during the call, offered to give him his old job back."

There are no shortage of Democrats salivating at the idea of running against someone other than Arnold Schwarzenegger, who helped push Gray Davis out of office in a 2003 recall and steamrolled Phil Angelides in 2006.

Brown's potential rivals include:

  • San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom;
  • LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (though he'd be fresh off a re-election campaign 2009);
  • Jack O'Connell, the state schools superintendent;
  • Lt. Gov. John Garamendi;
  • Former Controller Steve Westley, who ran in 2006 and remains a millionaire;
  • Treasurer Bill Lockyer (who preceded Brown as AG);

    Among those who could run, only Newsom hasn't spent time in Sacramento. Most on that list have bounced around California's executive branch for years, trading jobs as term limits chase them from department to department.

    Indeed, Newsom's glances toward the governor's mansion have gotten as much attention Brown's.

    On the Republican side, Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner is a likely candidate, says Sacramento Bee columnist Dan Walters, seeing as is the only GOP member holding a statewide office in California. Walters also sees Meg Whitman, the recently-retired eBay chief executive, as a potential candidate.

    Both Poizner and Whitman have roots in Silicon Valley and piles of personal wealth to challenge the Democrats advantages in the state.

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