Brown seeks pre-primary debates with GOP rivals

Chris Rizo Apr. 17, 2010, 5:56pm

Jerry Brown (D)

LOS ANGELES (Legal Newsline)-California Attorney General Jerry Brown, the presumptive Democratic nominee for governor, on Saturday called for three-way debates with his two Republican rivals.

Brown sent letters to Republican gubernatorial candidates Meg Whitman and state Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner urging them to agree to three debates, held in Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco, the three greatest population centers in the state, before the June 8 primaries.

Poizner accepted Brown's offer, saying he was "willing to debate anywhere, anytime," while the Whitman camp said in a statement it was "open to considering the proposal."

So far, Whitman and Poizner, both wealthy former Silicon Valley executives, have been running ads touting their vision for the state. Whitman, who has poured $59 million into her campaign, has dominated the state's airwaves in recent weeks.

"The voters are sick and tired of slick, phony, pre-packaged 30 and 60-second TV and radio commercials that say nothing of substance and offer only superficial solutions," Brown said. "Let's instead give voters the facts and tell them how we plan to approach the goal of getting Californians back to work."

His announcement came at the state Democratic Convention being held this weekend in Los Angeles.

"With record unemployment, the budget crisis and challenges to our system of education, California urgently needs specific answers to our problems," Brown said, noting that Democratic and Republican candidates have never debated each other before a primary election.
But this year "is very different," said Brown, governor from 1975 to 1983.

"We cannot delay debating solutions. The need is immediate, and millions and millions of dollars in an orgy of spending for TV commercials is not a substitute for an honest and open discussion. We need immediate action to get Californians back to work, and these debates will be a good first step."

To help jumpstart the state's lagging economy, Brown said he favors streamlining business regulations so that economic activity can be accelerated.

As for the Golden State's economic crisis, Brown said that is the fault mostly of Wall Street bankers, stock manipulators and "crooked" real estate lenders.

"Hundreds of thousands of Californians who can't find jobs know who brought this economic calamity down on us, and they want to know which of the three candidates for governor - Democrat or Republican - will best lead us back from the brink and help create jobs," he said.

From Legal Newsline: Reach staff reporter Chris Rizo at

More News