November 9, 2009
by Lovelle Harris | Staff Writer
Of the many contenders vying for the chance to be California’s next governor, Attorney General Jerry Brown and former eBay CEO Meg Whitman appear to be the early front runners in the race leading up to the June 2010 primaries.
According to the latest Field Poll released Oct. 8, Brown had a sizable lead over his then Democratic challenger, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, as well as all three of the lesser-known Republican candidates, which include Whitman, former representative Tom Campbell and Steve Poizner, the state’s current insurance commissioner. Newsom, who garnered the support of former President Bill Clinton, dropped out of the race Oct. 30.
Facing a chronic budget problem, Brown seems best equipped to lead the state out of its woeful financial straits. During his first stint as governor from 1975-83, California produced 25 percent of the nation’s new jobs, reduced taxes and built a significant state surplus according to his Web site. During his tenure as Oakland mayor, his programs and policies, like the 10K Downtown Housing Program, which created urban housing for 10,000 Oakland residents, successfully reversed years of social neglect.
While the battle for the GOP nomination has been waging for months, according to the Field Poll, about half of Republicans have yet to make a decision as to which of the three candidates they will support in the 2010 election. For those who have made a decision, that same poll gives a slight edge to Whitman with 22 percent of the vote, compared to 20 percent for Campbell and 9 percent for Poizner.
This indecisiveness on the part of the GOP could have serious repercussions when the primary elections roll around since, at this point, the polls suggest that all three Republican candidates would lose to Brown.
Whitman’s campaign hinges on the slogan “A New California” and a plan that boasts a three-pronged approach to solve the state’s budget crisis; create new jobs in the private sector, cut government spending by at least $15 billion and fix education by expanding charter schools and giving parents, principals and teachers more control over school policies, programs and curriculum.
While Whitman’s plan appears to have substance it is her voting record that is severely lacking in material. Because the eBay billionaire has rarely voted in the past — it’s not clear whether she has ever even bothered to registered to vote — her gubernatorial bid could be in serious jeopardy.
With Brown’s experience and Whitman’s conservative platform, both appear poised to convince their respective constituents that they can the take the state out of fiscal disarray and into financial harmony.
With Brown leading Whitman, Campbell and Poizner by significant margins ranging from 21 to 25 points, the people’s demand for responsible government and Whitman’s questionable voting habits, California’s next governor is likely to be someone who’s had the job before – Jerry Brown.