Help on the way for Jerry Brown

Chris Rizo Feb. 11, 2010, 4:29am

Jerry Brown (D)

Meg Whitman (R)

Steve Poizner (R)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Legal Newsline)-Jerry Brown has at least $50 million worth of help on the way to help the attorney general become California governor - again.

Three separate independent campaign committees plan to spend millions of dollars to attack the Republican gubernatorial frontrunner, former eBay CEO Meg Whitman, who has spent $39 million of her own money on her campaign.

The offensive against Whitman comes as she continues to battle state Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner for the Republican nomination. Poizner has given his campaign $19 million.

Involved in the pro-Brown effort is Chris Lehane, a former spokesman in the Clinton administration, and Ace Smith, a former Brown campaign manager. Their "Level the Playing Field 2010" effort plans to raise $20 million through Labor Day.

A second effort is being led by businessman Ron Burkle. His "California Working Families 2010" campaign is aiming to raise $30 million, most of which would be used to help Brown win the office he held decades ago.

The Working Families effort is led by several political advisers close to President Barack Obama and Roger Salazar, former spokesman for Gov. Gray Davis.

The Democratic Governors Association is also preparing to go on the attack on behalf of Brown, who is expected to officially announce his campaign soon. The DGA's "California Accountability Project" will target both Whitman and Poizner.

The push to help Brown, whose campaign has $12 million in the bank, comes amid concerns that the former two-term governor will not be able to keep up with Whitman or Poizner, both very wealthy former Silicon Valley executives, in the push toward the Nov. 2 general election.

Whitman has an estimated worth of more than $1 billion, while Poizner sold his GPS company SnapTrack Inc. to Qualcomm in 2000 for a reported $1 billion.

Brown was California governor from 1975 to 1983. He may seek another two terms as governor because he led the state before term limits were enacted.

A Field Poll released Jan. 22 indicates that Brown's lead in the governor's race was narrowing.

In a hypothetical general election matchup against Whitman, Brown had a 10-point lead, 46 percent to 36 percent. In October, he had more than a 20 point lead over Whitman.

Against Poisner, Brown led by 17 points, down from the 25-point lead he had in the fall.

The poll, conducted from January 5-17, surveyed 958 likely general election voters. The survey had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.3 percentage points.

From Legal Newsline: Reach staff reporter Chris Rizo at

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