AG Brown leads fundraising race for Calif. governor

Chris Rizo Jul. 1, 2009, 4:24am

Jerry Brown (D)

Gavin Newsom (D)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Legal Newsline)-California Attorney General Jerry Brown leads the fundraising race for the 2010 gubernatorial contest despite having yet to officially announce his candidacy.

Campaign finance reports show that the Democratic attorney general has raised more than $2 million this year from big donors, including Playboy founder Hugh Hefner and Hollywood heavyweights Steven Spielberg and David Geffen.

Recent campaign finance disclosures show that Brown received a $13,000 check from clothing designer Diane Von Furstenberg, $10,000 from Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, $8,000 from media proprietor Haim Saban, $7,000 from Gap clothing founder Donald Fisher and $5,000 from Hefner.

The only declared candidate in the Democratic gubernatorial primary race, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, raked in $892,000 in big-dollar donations, from such figures as clothing designer Kenneth Cole, former Yahoo CEO Jerry Yang and movie mogul Harvey Weinstein.

Newsom collected contributions from Yang, who gave $25,900; from Benjamin Silverman, co-chairman of NBC Universal, who contributed $15,200, and Cole who gave $5,000.

According to a recent poll, leads Newsom 46 percent to 26 percent.

Brown, 71, was California governor from 1975 to 1983. He was the mayor of Oakland, Calif., from 1998 to 2006, before being elected as the state's chief legal officer in 2007. Brown unsuccessfully sought the Democratic nominations for U.S. president in 1976, 1980, and 1992.

Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is prohibited from seeking a third term because of term limits, but Brown held office before the law was enacted, thus allowing him to run in 2010.

He has told Legal Newsline that he is could not yet comment about his plans, despite months of speculation in the Golden State about the former two-term governor returning to office as an elder statesman.

In an earlier interview with Legal Newsline, Brown said his actions are speaking louder than his words on whether he will run for governor.

"I am raising money for my attorney general campaign account, which is consistent with a run for governor. It's not inconsistent," Brown said in an interview at the time.

From Legal Newsline: Reach staff reporter Chris Rizo at

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