AG Brown takes swipes at Newsom

Kathy Woods and Chris Rizo Aug. 16, 2009, 1:14pm

Jerry Brown (D)

Gavin Newsom (D)

SAN FRANCISCO (Legal Newsline)- It is looking more and more likely that California Attorney General Jerry Brown will make an unprecedented run for a third term as governor.

Brown, who served as California governor from 1975 to 1983, says he won't be making his official 2010 campaign announcement "not for a few months, at least," the San Francisco Chronicle reported Saturday.

Brown, 71, made the remark in the Bay Area town of Palo Alto, where he and San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom were appearing at the SEIU United Service Workers West "Restoring the California Dream" leadership conference.

Newsom, 41, the only declared 2010 Democratic gubernatorial candidate, pitched his theme, "past versus future," stating that: "You need a governor who is willing to take on those tough fights and not a governor who just uses you as a pawn... you need a governor who is willing to get out front on controversial issues."

In response Brown reportedly said, "I'm not new leadership. I'm old leadership. I've been around. If you go to my Web page, you can see pictures of me when I looked just like Gavin Newsom." Adding, "But for every hair I lost, I got more brain cells. So I'm really smarter and ready to go."

As Legal Newsline reported late last month, Brown told a group of trial lawyers gathered in San Francisco that he was trying to be "thoughtful" about his possible run for governor.

Speaking to the annual meeting of Public Justice, Brown said the Golden State's next chief executive has a herculean task before him and he wants to be sure he is able to deliver.

"Quite frankly, one of the reasons that I haven't jumped into the race for governor is that I really want to think about this: What's possible? What's the pathway to make it all happen?" Brown said. "It's going to take some very eloquent diplomacy and political leadership to put this state back on an even keel because it is definitely sinking and we can't go on the way we are."

A poll released last week indicates that Brown has a narrowing lead over Newsom, the only declared candidate for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination. The Research 2000 poll commissioned by the Daily Kos shows that Brown, leads Newsom by 9 points, 29 percent to 20 percent.

A poll in June by J. Moore Methods showed that Brown led Newsom by 20 points. The Research 2000 poll of 600 likely voters was taken Aug. 9-12. It has margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Brown has had a long political career. From 1971 to 1975 he was
California Secretary of State, then governor, and from 1989 to 1991 he was chair of the California Democratic Party. He was mayor of Oakland, Calif., from 1998 to 2006. He unsuccessfully sought the U.S. Democratic presidential nomination three times.

On whether other Democrats would enter the race, Brown said he is doubtful, the Chronicle reported.

"I doubt that very seriously," Brown said. "This (governor's job) is ... not an easy path. It's not going to be a career builder, in all probability," he said. "There's a big chance of breakdown, a big chance ... so the more sober-minded have found other options."

From Legal Newsline: Reach staff reporter Chris Rizo at

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