Villaraigosa's endorsement would be a boost for AG Brown

Chris Rizo Jul. 6, 2009, 12:01am

Jerry Brown (D)

Antonio Villaraigosa (D)

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (Legal Newsline)-California Attorney General Jerry Brown's chances of winning the Democratic nomination for governor next year is closely tied to his ability to capture the state's large Latino vote, two political observers say.

Brown, who has yet to declare his candidacy, and San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom are the top contenders for the Democratic nomination in 2010. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa recently bowed out of the race.

The San Francisco Chronicle's Phillip Matier and Andrew Ross said in their column Sunday that Villaraigosa remains a significant player in the race by way of the endorsement he offers as the Golden State's most prominent Latino politician.

Matier and Ross said whomever captures Villaraigosa's endorsement could be helped in getting the lion's share of the state's Hispanic voters.

The column said sources say that Villaraigosa is likely to endorse a candidate in the Democratic primary.

Matier and Ross suggested it would likely be Brown given the attorney general's strong ties to the Latino community and his support from United Farm Workers co-founder Dolores Huerta.

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.

Recent campaign finance disclosures filed with the secretary of state's office indicate that Brown leads Newsom in fundraising.

Brown had collected $7.3 million through Tuesday, which was the end of the current reporting period. For his part, Newsom had raked in $1.6 million during the six-month period.

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