Jerry Brown to announce candidacy 'very, very soon'

Chris Rizo Feb. 18, 2010, 4:00pm

Jerry Brown (D)

Meg Whitman (R)

Steve Poizner (R)

SAN FRANCISCO (Legal Newsline)-California Attorney General Jerry Brown said Thursday that he is close to officially entering the governor's race.

Appearing on KGO Radio, the Democrat said he will declare his candidacy "very, very soon."

So far, Brown only has an exploratory committee formed, which allows him to raise large contributions for a potential run for the office he held about three decades ago.

"I have a very small campaign staff and I don't intend it to get too large," Brown said. "And there are a lot of very talented people around the state that are raring to go on this campaign to make sure California gets a new governor and gets a Democratic governor."

Brown's remarks follow word from U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., that she will not run for governor. Brown told KGO that Feinstein not getting into the race is significant.

"Certainly that makes a big difference because a fight with Dianne Feinstein would be very counterproductive. That would not be helpful in any sense. And secondly, certainly we're getting ready. I can certainly tell you that," he remarked.

Brown may run succeed Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger as the Golden State's chief executive because Brown led the state from 1975 to 1983, before term limits were enacted.

Brown 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.

On the Republican side vying to replace Schwarzenegger is former eBay chief executive Meg Whitman and state Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner.

Hoping to put Brown on more equal footing against the two wealthy former Silicon Valley executives,three separate independent campaign committees plan to spend millions of dollars attacking Whitman and Poizner.

For her part, Whitman has spent $39 million of her own money on her campaign, while Poizner has given his campaign $19 million.

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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