Republican heavyweight backs Brown's bid for governor

Chris Rizo Jan. 6, 2010, 3:30pm

Jerry Brown (D)

LOS ANGELES (Legal Newsline)-California Attorney General Jerry Brown has notched a major endorsement should the Democrat decide to run governor.

Billionaire Los Angeles developer Rick Caruso, a Republican, says he will support Brown should the former governor and three-time U.S. presidential hopeful decide to run for his old job.

Caruso is widely considered to be preparing for a run for Los Angeles mayor in three years. The head of Caruso Affiliated said in a statement that Brown is best suited to solve the state's mounting fiscal woes.

"The economic downturn has had a devastating impact on our state, and as a businessman and a CEO, I understand the value of experience in solving problems," Caruso said. "Our next governor needs to be someone who understands government and how it works, and that is Jerry Brown."

Caruso, the man behind the Southern California mega-retail projects The Grove at Farmers Market and Americana at Brand, is holding a Feb. 2 fundraiser for Brown.

He was a supporter of Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and served as co-chair of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's 2008 presidential campaign.

Although Brown, 71, has not formally entered the California governor's race, he has formed an exploratory committee, which allows him to raise money for a potential run to succeed Schwarzenegger, who is barred by term-limits from seeking reelection.

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.

On the Republican side, former eBay Chief Executive Officer Meg Whitman, former U.S. Rep. Tom Campbell and state Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner are running for their party's nomination.

So far, Brown is the only Democrat who has expressed interest in seeking the Democratic nomination. San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom exited the race last year amid lackluster polls and fundraising.

From Legal Newsline: Reach staff reporter Chris Rizo at

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