Brown, Cuomo, Biden named politicians to watch in 2010

Chris Rizo Jan. 4, 2010, 3:00pm

Jerry Brown (D-Calif.)

Andrew Cuomo (D-N.Y.)

Beau Biden (D-Del.)

WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline)-Three state attorneys general are among the 25 politicians to watch this year, according to Politico.

The Washington-based publication said attorneys general Jerry Brown of California, Andrew Cuomo of New York and Beau Biden of Delaware are a part of a "small galaxy of candidates and officeholders whose actions -- or reactions -- are especially consequential and worth watching because of the role they will play in shaping the legislative or political environment."

On Brown, a Democrat, Politico had this to say about the former two-term governor who is widely expected to make a run for governor this year: "Nearly 40 years after his first statewide win, Brown is the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination for governor."

So far, Brown, 71, is the only Democrat openly considering a run to succeed Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger next year.

Brown, who was California governor from 1975 to 1983, may seek another two terms as the state's chief executive because he led California before term limits were enacted.

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

U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and U.S. Rep. Jane Harman, D-Calif., are two names frequently mentioned as other possible Democrats interested in jumping into the governor race.

The Republican field is growing, with former eBay chief executive Meg Whitman leading the pack in the polls and fundraising.

This year's gubernatorial race in New York is reason to watch the state's attorney general there, Politico said.

New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, a former U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President Bill Clinton between 1997 and 2001, has not announced whether he will run for Empire State governor.

"Cuomo has been coy about his intentions but polls show he'd easily defeat wounded Gov. David Paterson in a Democratic primary," Politico said. "If he does challenge the state's first African American governor, the contest will be a messy one: many black leaders haven't forgotten Cuomo's bruising 2002 primary campaign against Carl McCall, the state comptroller who at the time was vying to become New York's first African-American governor."

Cuomo, 52, is the elder son of former New York Gov. Mario Cuomo. He was oft-mentioned as a possible candidate for the U.S. Senate in 2000, but ultimately deferred to fellow Democrat Hillary Clinton, who last year left the post to become U.S. Secretary of State.

As for Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden, Politico said the son of U.S. Vice President Joe Biden's decision to run for his father's former Senate seat could affect Democrat's control of the chamber.

"Biden's decision on whether or not to run for Delaware's open Senate seat could affect the upper chamber's balance of power," Politico said. "If he decides against challenging GOP Rep. Mike Castle, his father's old seat is almost certain to fall into Republican hands."

Currently, the Democratic caucus has a 60-seat majority, able to collectively overcome Republican filibusters.

Biden, a 40-year-old captain in the Delaware Army National Guard, returned from a year-long deployment in Iraq in September.

From Legal Newsline: Reach staff reporter Chris Rizo at

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