Governor says Calif. AG mostly likely to succeed him in 2010

Legal News Line Oct. 8, 2008, 11:19am

Jerry Brown (D)

Arnold Schwarzenegger (R)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Legal Newsline)-California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's prediction of who will succeed him when his term expires may further infuriate the conservative members of the state Legislature who recently considered whether to support efforts to recall the Governator.

In an interview on Tuesday with John Myers of KQED's, "The California Report," Schwarzenegger handicaps the gubernatorial race in 2010, ending with a prediction that Democratic Attorney General Jerry Brown will most likely be his successor.

"I think Jerry Brown," Schwarzenegger said, "because he has been governor twice before and has worked his way back up again from being mayor of Oakland to becoming the attorney general right now, and he can kind of reach through to Republicans and Democrats and bring people together. So I think he has the best shot."

Schwarzenegger, a moderate Republican, just concluded a three-month battle to pass a state budget blocked by conservatives unwilling to approve any raises in taxes to shore up the states $17 billion deficit.

Many of his own party groused that they had never spoken with the bodybuilder turned movie star turned governor since he took office following the recall of Gov. Gray Davis in 2003.

During a September meeting of Republican members of the Legislature, conservatives openly discussed endorsing long-shot efforts to recall Schwarzenegger, who chose to attend an environmental conference over the Republican get together.

Brown - who served two terms as governor in the 1970s and 1980s -- is the favorite in most early polls among a crowded Democratic field of potential nominees. But U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein has long been interested in becoming governor. A poll this summer found half of the likely voters surveyed said they would vote for her, double those who said they would vote for Brown. Since the poll was released, Feinstein has said she is seriously considering a run, but would not make a decision until early 2009.

In handicapping the race, Schwarzenegger also tipped his hand as to who he thinks might win the upcoming presidential election between Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona and Democratic Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois.

"It depends on if Dianne Feinstein comes into the (governor's) race or not," Schwarzenegger said. "I think it depends also on who will win the presidency. If McCain wins the presidency I think she will most likely leave Washington and come and run for governor. I think if Obama wins the presidency she will want to be part of that move and want to stay, because of the change, want to stay in Washington. And then Jerry Brown, I think, has the best shot at becoming governor of this great state."

Moments later, after a calling Republican Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner, who has announced he will run, an "up and comer," Schwarzenegger summarized his comments repeating that Brown is likely to win, which, by his own assessment, means that Feinstein will have stayed in Washington to work with an Obama administration that won the presidency.

Schwarzenegger said he still supports Republican John McCain for president.

The interview included one other quip from the governor. Schwarzenegger said he called Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to congratulate her on her vice presidential nomination.

"I called her and I said, 'That's what's wrong with the constitution. Miss Alaska is beating Mr. Universe and can run for vice president or become president. There's something off here."

Schwarzenegger has been outspoken about the need to change the Constitution to allow foreign-born citizens like him the right to run for U.S. president.

Palin once took second place in the Miss Alaska beauty contest. Schwarzenegger won the title of Mr. Universe before launching his career as action movie star.

Palin, he said, "didn't think it was that funny."

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