5:50 PM:State Attorney General Jerry Brown announced this morning that he is formally entering the California governor’s race, setting up what experts say is a race full of contrasts that could end up a nail-biter.

Brown made the announcement in a three-minute YouTube video in which he pledged to make California a leader in good jobs, quality schools and renewable energy.

He also promised to downsize state government and not raise taxes unless the voters chose to.

Brown, a Democrat who served as governor of California from 1974 to 1982, used his announcement to reject the idea that a political outsider was right for the job, saying the state had already tried that and discovered that “it doesn’t work.”

“The partisanship is poisonous; political posturing has replaced leadership,” he said of California’s current politics. “And the budget–it’s always late, it’s always in the red, and it’s always wrong.”

A San Francisco native and son of former California Gov. Pat Brown, Jerry Brown has also served as California secretary of state and mayor of Oakland.

He will square off in the general election against the winner of the Republican primary, which is likely to be either former eBay CEO Meg Whitman or State Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner.

Poizner formally announced his candidacy at a news conference in San Jose on Monday.
“This election will be about the future of California, not the past,” Poizner said in response to Brown’s announcement today. “The next governor will need specific economic solutions.”

While Brown’s campaign is trying to portray him as battle-hardened leader with the experience necessary to move the state forward, either leading Republican candidate would likely try to frame him as part of the political machine that brought California to its current state of crisis.

Both Whitman and Poizner have poured millions of their own dollars into their primary campaigns.
Bill Whalen, a research fellow at the Hoover Institution, said campaign financing is important, but how money is spent is equally important.
Spending too much on TV ads, for example, could create a backlash if voters get tired of a candidate, Whalen said. Spending money on campaign infrastructure, focus groups, polling and voter turnout efforts is more effective, he said.
Brown will likely need to work hard to encourage youth voter turnout, which could be bolstered by a visit from President Obama, Whalen said.
Brown’s best-known potential rival for the governor’s seat, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, dropped out of the race in October, allowing Brown to bypass a lengthy and expensive primary campaign, Whalen said.
That could work to his advantage or disadvantage, according to Whalen.
“This is one of the bigger what-ifs of the campaign,” he said. “The Republicans fear they will have a bloody primary campaign where the winner comes out so bruised it will affect their chances. But Democrats fear Jerry Brown won’t be as sharply focused without a primary campaign.”
Other what-ifs include Brown’s age and experience.
Voters could respond well to a candidate who has dealt with
Sacramento’s tough political climate, but Brown’s record could make him vulnerable as Republicans prepare to pick apart his history, Whalen said.
Whitman’s campaign released a statement today saying of Brown, “We’d like to welcome him to the race, and we’re looking forward to discussing Brown’s 40-year political career.”
If elected, Brown would take office at age 72, nearly three decades after he last held the governor’s job.
Whalen said no other state has a governor in his or her 70s.
“It makes for a fascinating contrast in California,” he said.
Whalen said voters also respond well to the “political newcomer
platform,” which he said Schwarzenegger ran on in 2003. Schwarzenegger has not yet endorsed a candidate in the race.
“He’s been very coy,” Whalen said. “He keeps saying he will endorse whoever is best.”
Whitman has attacked Schwarzenegger’s prized anti-global warming bill, AB 32, saying she would put a one-year moratorium on it if elected. Brown’s record is much more pro-environment, which could also resonate with younger voters, Whalen said.
In short, Whalen said, it could be a close race.
“I would guess this will be a nail-biter one way or the other,” he
said.

11:49 AM:State Attorney General Jerry Brown announced this morning that he is formally entering the California governor’s race, setting up what experts say is a race full of contrasts that could end up a nail-biter.

He made the announcement in a three-minute YouTube video in which he pledged to make a California a leader in good jobs, quality schools and renewable energy.

Brown, a Democrat who served as governor of California from 1974 to 1982, rejected the idea that a political outsider was right for the job, saying the state had already tried that and discovered that “it doesn’t work.”

“The partisanship is poisonous; political posturing has replaced leadership,” he said of California’s current politics. “And the budget–it’s always late, it’s always in the red, and it’s always wrong.

Brown has also served as California secretary of state and mayor of Oakland.

A San Francisco native and son of former California Gov. Pat Brown, his campaign positions him as a battle-hardened leader with the experience necessary to steer the state out of its fiscal crisis.

Brown will square off in the general election against the winner of the Republican primary, likely either former eBay CEO Meg Whitman or State Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner.

Poizner formally announced his candidacy at a news conference in San Jose on Monday.

Either candidate would likely try to portray Brown as part of the political machine that brought California to its current state of crisis. Both have poured millions of their own dollars into their primary campaigns.

Bill Whalen, a research fellow at the Hoover Institution, said campaign financing is important, but how money is spent is equally important.

Spending too much on TV ads, for example, could create a backlash if voters get tired of a candidate, Whalen said. Spending money on campaign infrastructure, focus groups, polling and voter turnout efforts is more effective, he said.

Brown will likely need to work hard to encourage youth voter turnout, which could be bolstered by a visit from President Obama, Whalen said.

Brown’s best-known potential rival for the governor’s seat, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, dropped out of the race in October, allowing Brown to bypass a lengthy and expensive primary campaign, Whalen said.

That could work to his advantage or disadvantage, according to Whalen.

“This is one of the bigger what-ifs of the campaign,” he said. “The Republicans fear they will have a bloody primary campaign where the winner comes out so bruised it will affect their chances. But Democrats fear Jerry Brown won’t be as sharply focused without a primary campaign.”

Other what-ifs include Brown’s age and experience.

Voters could respond well to a candidate who has dealt with Sacramento’s tough political climate, but Brown’s record could make him vulnerable as Republicans prepare to pick apart his history, Whalen said.

Whitman’s campaign released a statement today saying of Brown, “We’d like to welcome him to the race, and we’re looking forward to discussing Brown’s 40-year political career.”

If elected, Brown would take office at age 72, nearly three decades after he last held the governor’s job.

Whalen said no other state has a governor in his or her 70s.

“It makes for a fascinating contrast in California,” Whalen said.

Whalen said voters also respond well to the “political newcomer platform,” which he said Schwarzenegger ran on in 2003. Schwarzenegger has not yet endorsed a candidate in the race.

“He’s been very coy,” Whalen said. “He keeps saying he will endorse whoever is best.”

Whitman has attacked Schwarzenegger’s prized anti-global warming bill, AB 32, saying she would put a one-year moratorium on it if elected. Brown’s record is much more pro-environment, which could also resonate with younger voters, Whalen said.

In short, Whalen said, it could be a close race.

“I would guess this will be a nail-biter one way or the other,” he said.

11:16 AM: State Attorney General Jerry Brown announced this morning that he is formally entering the California governor’s race today.

Brown made the announcement in a video posted on his Web site at www.jerrybrown.org shortly before 11 a.m.

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  • PhilD

    Queue the whiny bullshit reasons to oppose him. He’s got my support.

  • modelenoir

    Did anyone else here on KQED’s California Report, after they mentioned that Jerry Brown would be declaring his candidacy today they used a quick clip of Dead Kennedys’ “California ber Alles” as the segue into the next story. Well played.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_%C3%9Cber_Alles

  • PhilD

    @modelenoir
    I was right there with you buddy – though it was pretty clever!

  • Alex Zepeda

    Talk about a race to the bottom…

  • renegade

    If the old dog can still bite…ok, and the Dems have no other players. It’s either Brown or ebay.