California gubernatorial election, 2010

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In the Californias gubernatorial election of 2010, held on November 2, 2010, Democrat Edmund G. “Jerry” Brown defeated Republican Meg Whitman. Two term incumbent Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, was term-limited.

Following the June 8, 2010 primary elections, Jerry Brown easily beat all his challengers; no other Democrat broke the 10% mark. Among the Republicans, Whitman took two-thirds of the votes.

Facing record low number in his own approval ratings, Governor Schwarzenegger played almost no visible role in the election.

Election results

As of December 10, 2010, the results are complete and official.[1]

2010 Race for Governor - General Election
Party Candidate Vote Percentage
     Democratic Party Approveda Jerry Brown 53.44%
     Republican Party Meg Whitman 40.63%
     American Independent Party Chelene Nightengale 1.64%
     Libertarian Party Dale Ogden 1.49%
     Green Party Laura Wells 1.89%
     Peace and Freedom Party Carlos Alvarez 0.91%
     write-in Hugh Bagley >0.01%
     write-in Rakesh Kumar Christian >0.01%
Total Votes 10,158,139

Inauguration and transition

Inaugural date

California's Constitution requires a newly elected governor to take office the first Monday after the New Year. For Governor-elect Jerry Brown, this means the Inaugural occurred on January 3, 2011.

Transition team

Deliberately contrasting himself with outgoing Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, whose 2003 transition team had a staff of 67, Brown was very public about the small, and mostly unpaid, group coordinating his own transition.[2] Of $890,000 set aside to pay for the transition, Brown has promised to use only a fraction.

Serving as transition coordinator was Chief Deputy District Attorney General Jim Humes. In his first month as Governor of California, Jerry Brown gave the State of the State Address and released his first budget proposal, as well as taking the oath of office.

California faced an estimated $25.4 billion budget shortfall and was reduced to asking the Federal government to provide a bailout. Lame duck Governor Schwarzenegger announced an emergency session of the legislature that met beginning on December 6, 2010 in a attempt to fix the state's fiscal mess. As newly elected members of the legislature were sworn in that day, the General Assembly making the deliberations was not itself be a lame duck session. It also meant that Governor Brown will took office with a seated legislature that had a month's work ready for him to address.

The list of appointments made by a governor spans three volumes and it unclear how many, if any, the incoming Brown adminsitration intended to axe.[3] Numerous positions are statuatory and are therefore unlikely to disappear.[4]

June 8, 2010 primaries

2010 Race for Governor - American Independent Primary[5]
Candidates Percentage
Green check mark.jpg Chelene Nightingale (AI) 58.2%
Markham Robinson (AI) 41.8%
Total votes 39,914
2010 Race for Governor - Green Primary[6]
Candidates Percentage
S. Deacon Alexander (G) 20.5%
Green check mark.jpg Laura Wells (G) 79.5%
Total votes 20,939
2010 Race for Governor - Democrat Primary[7]
Candidates Percentage
Richard William Aguirre (D) 4.1%
Green check mark.jpg Edmund G. "Jerry" Brown (D) 84.3%
Lowell Darling (D) 1.6%
Vibert Greene (D) 2.3%
Charles 'Chuck' Pineda, Jr. (D) 4.0%
Peter Schurman (D) 1.4%
Joe Symon (D) 2.3%
Total votes 2,317,850
2010 Race for Governor - Peace and Freedom Primary[8]
Candidates Percentage
Stuart A. Alexander (PF) 40.0%
Green check mark.jpg Carlos Alvarez (PF) 45.5%
Mohammad Arif (PF) 14.5%
Total votes 10,069
2010 Race for Governor - Libertarian Primary[9]
Candidates Percentage
Green check mark.jpg Dale F. Ogden (L) 100.0%
Total votes 16,804
2010 Race for Governor - Republican Primary[10]
Candidates Percentage
Bill Chambers (R) 1.4%
Douglas R. Hughes (R) 1.0%
Ken Miller (R) 1.5%
Lawrence 'Larry' Natarelli (R) 2.3%
Robert C. Newman, II (R) 1.7%
Steve Poizner (R) 26.7%
David Tully-Smith (R) 1.0%
Green check mark.jpg Meg Whitman (R) 64.4%
Total votes 2,316,071

Race ratings

See also: Gubernatorial elections 2010, Race tracking

2010 Race Rankings California
Race Tracker Race Rating
The Cook Political Report[11] Toss-up
Congressional Quarterly Politics[12] Leans Democratic
Larry J. Sabato's Crystal Ball[13] Leans Democratic
Rasmussen Reports Gubernatorial Scorecard[14] Toss-up
The Rothenberg Political Report[15] Lean Democrat
Overall Call Democrat


8. Rothenberg moved race from "Toss-up Tilting Democrat" to "Lean Democrat" on October 28th.

7. Rasmussen moved race from "Leans Democrat" to "Toss-up" on October 29th.

6. Rothenberg moved race from "Toss-up Tilting Republican" to "Toss-up Tilting Democrat" as of October 24th.

5. Larry J. Sabato moved race from "Toss-up" to "Leans Democratic" as of October 24th.

4. Rasmussen moved race from "Toss-up" to "Leans Democrat" following October 4th polling.

3. Rothenberg moved races from "Pure Toss-up" to "Toss-up Tilting Republican" in October 1st ratings.

2. Rasmussen moved race from "Leans GOP" back to "Toss-up" following September 6th polling.

1. Rasmussen moved race from "Toss-up" to "Leans GOP" following August 26th poll.


General election polling


2010 Race for California Governor - CNN / Time / Opinion Research Corporation
Date Reported Brown (D) Whitman (R) Other No Opinion
September 24-28, 2010[16] 52% 43% 3% 2%
(Sample) n=786 MoE=+/- 3.5% p=0.05
September 2-7, 2010[17] 46% 48% 2% 2%
(Sample) n=866 MoE=+/- 3.5% p=0.05


2010 Race for California Governor - Public Policy Institute of California
Date Reported Brown (D) Whitman (R) Other Don't Know
September 19-26, 2010[18] 37% 38% 7% 18%
(Sample) n = 1,104 MoE = +/- 3.6% p = 0.05

Public Policy Polling

2010 Race for California Governor - Public Policy Polling[19]
Date Reported Brown (D) Whitman (R) Other Don't Know
September 14-16, 2010[20] 47% 42% -% 12%
July 23-25, 2010[21] 46% 40% -% 14%
May 27, 2010[22] 48% 36% -% 16%

The Field Poll

2010 Race for California Governor - The Field Poll
Date Reported Whitman (R) Brown (D) Other Don't Know
September 14-21, 2010[23] 41% 41% 3% 6%
(Sample)[24] n=857 MoE=+/- 4.1% p=0.05

Rasmussen Reports

2010 Race for California Governor - Rasmussen Reports
Date Reported Brown (D) Whitman (R) Other Don't Know
October 27, 2010[25] 49% 45% 2% 3%
October 21, 2010[26] 48% 42% 4% 6%
October 13, 2010[27] 50% 44% 2% 4%
October 3, 2010[28] 49% 44% 4% 4%
September 20, 2010[29] 47% 46% 4% 3%
September 6, 2010[30] 42% 46% 4% 7%
August 24, 2010[31] 40% 48% 6% 6%
August 6, 2010[32] 43% 41% 6% 10%
July 15, 2010[33] 47% 46% 4% 3%
June 10, 2010[34] 45% 44% 4% 7%
May 26, 2010[35] 45% 41% 8% 7%
April 21, 2010[36] 44% 38% 9% 9%
March 17 2010[37] 40% 40% 6% 14%
February 16, 2010[38] 43% 43% 6% 8%
January 22, 2010[39] 43% 39% 7% 11%
November 19, 2009[40] 41% 41% 3% 14%
September 28, 2009[41] 44% 35% 3% 18%
September 28, 2009[42] 44% 35% 3% 18%
(Sample)[43] n=500 MoE=+/- 4.5% p=0.05

Survey USA

2010 Race for California Governor - Survey USA[44]
Date Reported Brown (D) Whitman (R) Other Don't Know
October 15-181, 2010[45] 40% 47% 8% 5%
August 31 - September 1, 2010[46] 40% 47% 9% 4%
August 8-9, 2010[47] 43% 44% - 13%
July 8-11, 2010[48] 39% 46% 7% 8%

Primary election polling

Polling showed Meg Whitman to be favored in the Republican Primary early on.

Poll Source Dates
Meg Whitman Steve Poizner Spread
RCP Average 10/26 - 1/19 39.5 11.0 Whitman +28.5
PPIC 1/12 - 1/19 41 11 Whitman +30
Field 1/5 - 1/17 45 17 Whitman +28


The November Ballot – Who Made It? California Governor
Nominee Affiliation
Edmund G. "Jerry" Brown[49] Democrat
Meg Whitman[50] Republican
Laura Wells[51] Green
Dale F. Ogden[52] Libertarian
Chelene Nightingale[53] American Independence
Carlos Alvarez[54] Peace and Freedom
Alex Brittain[55] (write-in)
Royce D'Orazio[56] (write-in)
This lists candidates who won their state's primary or convention, or who were unopposed, and who were officially certified for the November ballot by their state's election authority.

American Independent

  • Business owner Chelene Nightingale
  • Markham Robinson, also a business owner


  • Businessman Richard William Aquirre
  • Edmund G. Jerry Brown, the sitting Attorney General of California going into 2010[57]
  • Lowell Darling, an artist
  • Vibert Greene, a mechanical engineer and CEO
  • Charles 'Chuck' Pineda, Jr., a parole board judge for the state
  • Peter Schruman, a consultant to non-profits
  • Joe Symon, president of a non-profit

Withdrawn Democratic candidates

  • Gavin Newsom announced on October 30, 2009 that he was withdrawing from the race.[58] He later ran for an won the lieutenant governor's seat.
  • John Garamendi
  • Senator Dianne Feinstein[59]



Peace and Freedom

See also: Peace and Freedom Party


  • Bill Chambers, a railroad switchman
  • Douglas R. Hughes a former business owner
  • Broadcasting executive Ken Miller
  • Lawrence 'Larry' Naritelli, an accountant
  • Psychologist Robert C. Newman, II
  • Steve Poizner, a businessman
  • Physician David Tully-Smith
  • Executive Meg Whitman

Withdrawn Republican candidates

Campaign finance

The California Secretary of State makes PDFs of all reports and addenda for candidates available free and online at their "Cal-Access" site.

Candidates for 2010 are searchable using the "Candidates and Elected Officials Portal"

Additionally, information on campaign finance disclosures is broken down into several useful metrics on "Follow the Money."

The cost of the race

The Brown v. Whitman face-off set a new American record for the greatest amount spent by a candidate in self-funding. Meg Whitman publicly stated she would spend up to $150 of her personal fortune on her bid, which she ultimately did. The sum dwarfed the $11 million Democrat Jerry Brown raised.In September 2010, she broke the previous record for self funding, set by Michael Bloomberg in his quest to be New York City's Mayor, when she committed an additional $15 million to her campaign.

That donation brought her total self-funding to $119 million. Bloomberg's record had been $108 million.[62]

Brown, however, was able to rely on organized labor supporters to run anti-Whitman ads in California's costly media markets over the course of the summer. Just five groups were responsible for $13.8 million worth of media buys. In addition, SEIU, the Service Employees International Union, made a $5 million media buy on Brown's behalf for the precious final weeks of campaign time.

Brown also relied to a far greater extent on in-kind donations such as supplies and labor.[63]

Required forms

Candidates for statewide office commonly use the following forms to report contributions and expenditures. More extensive information about legal requirements is provided at the website of the California Fair Political Practices Commission. Several additional forms are used and this list is illustrative, not exhaustive.

  • Statement of Organization Recipient Committee, Form 410 (This is used to report the formation of a committee for a campaign and serves as the initial campaign finance report of an election cycle.)
  • Recipient Committee Campaign Statement, Form 460 (This is used to report all contributions and expenditures in a given period.)
  • Late Contribution Report, Form 497(These are used to report amendments and corrections to 460 filings. Both the Brown and Whitman campaigns have numerous F497 reports for each required campaign disclosure report.)

Reporting periods and due dates

Reporting periods and due dates for statewide candidates for the November 2010 elections were as follows:

  • 1st Quarter 2009 (January 1, 2009 - March 30, 2009): due April 30, 2009
  • 2nd Quarter 2009 (April 1, 2009 - June 30, 2009): due July 31, 2009
  • 3rd Quarter 2009 (July 1, 2009 - September 30, 2009): due November 2, 2009
  • 4th Quarter 2009 (October 1, 2009 - December 31, 2009): due February 1, 2010
  • 1st Pre-Primary 2010 (January 1, 2010 - March 17, 2010): due March 22, 2010
  • 2nd Pre-Primary 2010 (March 18, 2010 - May 22, 2010): due May 27, 2010
  • 1st Semi-Annual 2010 (May 23, 2010 - June 30, 2010): due August 2, 2010
  • 1st Pre-General 2010 (July 1, 2010 - September 30, 2010): due October 5, 2010
  • 2nd Pre-General 2010 (October 1, 2010 - October 16, 2010): due October 21, 2010
  • 2nd Semi-Annual 2010 (October 17, 2010 - December 31, 2010): due January 31, 2011
    • Meg Whitman opted to file two semi-annuals reports for 2009, covering the periods January 1, 2009 - June 30, 2009 and July 1, 2009 - December 31, 2009, rather than four quarterly reports. Jerry Brown formed his committee later than Whitman and reported his 3rd and 4th quarter campaign finance figures in a single report covering the period from July 1, 2009 - December 31, 2009.

Jerry Brown

  • Accepted campaign spending limits? NO
Jerry Brown Campaign Finance Reports (Candidate ID # 1321867)
Report Date Filed Beginning Balance Cash Contributions Non-Monetary Contributions Total Contributions Expenditures Cash on Hand
First Semi-Annual 2010[64] August 2, 2010 $20,633,704.93 $2,685,732.12 $98,720.75 $2,784,452.87 $229,520 $23,189,480.40
Second Pre-Primary[65] May 27, 2010 $14,052,911.52 $6,746,945.63 $72,189.44 $6,839,135.07 $259,582.63 $20,633,704.93
First Pre-Primary[66] March 22, 2010 $4,371,311.62 $9,760,304.56 $64,961.56 $9,825,266.12 $144,101.97 $14,052,911.52
Second Semi-Annual 2009[67] February 1, 2010 $0.00 $4,434,466.74 $65,300.35 $4,499,767.09 $141,271.14 $4,371,311.62
  • Rather than list each addenda and supplementary filing for candidates, we have listed the original reports with the dollar amounts that are most current. The date listed under "date filed" reflects the most recent date when the report was updated. To see the original reports and each discrete correction and late filing, visit the California Secretary of State's website and see the complete list of "Late Contributions Reports" for Mr. Brown.

Meg Whitman

  • Accepted campaign spending limits? NO
Meg Whitman Campaign Finance Reports (Candidate ID # 1315455)
Report Date Filed Beginning Balance Cash Contributions Non-Monetary Contributions Total Contributions Expenditures Cash on Hand
First Semi-Annual 2010[68] August 2, 2010 $3,774,640.90 $26,265,884.18 $43,783.07 $26,309,667.25 $19,660,982.93 $10,321,047.89
Second Pre-Primary[69] July 30, 2010 $4,496,594.25 $32,766,839.64 $70,110.90 $32,836,950.54 $33,919,680.22 $3,774,640.90
First Pre-Primary[70] May 27, 2010 $10,500,373.20 $21,088,040.00 $83,282.47 $21,171,322.47 $26,802,258.42 $4,496,594.25
Second Semi-Annual 2009[71] March 22, 2010 $4,962,065.61 $18,536,782.05 $83,181.94 $18,619,963.99 $13,321,469.83 $10,500,373.20
First Semi-Annual 2009[72] January 25, 2010 $0.00 $10,705,376.02 $116,625.26 $10,822,001.28 $6,162,215.52 $4,962,065.61
  • Rather than list each addenda and supplementary filing for candidates, we have listed the original reports with the dollar amounts that are most current. The date listed under "date filed" reflects the most recent date when the report was updated. To see the original reports and each discrete correction and late filing, visit the California Secretary of State's website and see the complete list of "Late Contributions Reports" for Ms. Whitman.

Issues and positions in the race

Suspension of AB 32

California GOP gubernatorial candidates debate AB 32 in March 2010
See also: California Jobs Initiative, the Suspension of AB 32 (2010)

A ballot proposition to suspend AB 32 until the unemployment rate in California falls below 5.5% for four quarters in a row became an issue in the gubernatorial contest.

  • Meg Whitman said that she would act to freeze AB 32 for a year or more.[73]
  • Jerry Brown said that he would support "adjusting" some features of AB 32 but that he generally supports it and would not suspend it.[73]

The Budget

California's fiscal crisis, which reduced the state to "paying" employees in IOUs and flirting with bankruptcy, made budget management a white hot topic on the campaign trail.

Jerry brow rolled out an eight-page plan to start California's annual budget from scratch if elected.[74][75] Called "zero based budgeting," the proposal addressed cost overruns by requiring government agencies to submit a budget that does not assume anything will be funded just because it's already in place. Essentially, every item in a zero-based budget must be justified.

More commonly, governments use incremental budgets that treat the prior year's existing budget as a baseline and build on it., essentially guaranteeing nothing is ever cut. In California, however, much of the budget in rendered more-or-less untouchable by law and a zero based budget might only be able to address half the items on the state's tab.

Meg Whitman's budget proposal came out in the spring, featuring several of the same points as Brown's full plan. Both candidates promised to root out waste and cut soaring tabs for pensions and prisons.[76]

"Global Warming"

Speaking to the editorial board of the Mercury News on September 21st, Meg Whitman discussed a center-right approach to governance and specifically said that, as governor, she would "probably" veto a global warming law.[77]

Incidents in the race

"Fresno looks like Detroit"

In an interview with the San Jose Mercury News, Meg Whitman committed a slip of the tongue when discussing the impact of high unemployment and economic stagnation on the city of Fresno. "Fresno looks like Detroit. It's awful," the candidate said, in an off-the-cuff remark that drew instantaneous apologies, explanations, and analytics.[78]

Andrea Jones-Rivera, spokesman for the Whitman campaign, sent out an email addressing the comment, reading, in part:

"It was clear in the interview that Meg was talking about the economic duress in Fresno and the awful pain that results from record high unemployment. Meg knows that Fresno cannot be left behind as it has been in the past when the economic situation around the state gets better but Fresno doesn't respond as quickly."

Tom Fresno, of CSU-Fresno's political science department, was more direct. "It sounds like an off-the-cuff comment. Off-the-cuff comments are a politician's worst nightmare."

The next day, Whitman aimed to cut off debate about whether her comment was scripted or a poorly thought out spontaneous remark. Speaking on-air with KMJ AM 580, she clarified that, ""What I was trying to communicate was Fresno, the Central Valley, has been very hard hit. As hard hit as places like Detroit. So that's what I was trying to communicate."[79]

Comparisons to Detroit aside, Whitman remained in a dead heat with her major opponent, Democrat Jerry Brown, at that point. Polls had not moved significantly in months and both candidates' negatives were creeping up. In contrast, the [Michitgan gubernatorial election, 2010 | Michigan governor's race], whose winner really would have to deal with Detroit's crisis, looked increasingly like a win for Republican Rick Snyder, who did in fact secure the office

Questions over Whitman's domestic employees

Video of Meg Whitman refuting the allegations made by Nicky Diaz is available online.

On September 29, 2010, Meg Whitman and her husband, Griffin Harsh, were drawn into a breaking story about the immigration status of their former housekeeper, Nicandra Diaz-Santillan. Diaz-Santillan, who goes by Nicky Diaz, worked for Whitman for nearly a decade. However, the Internal Revenue Service sent a letter to Whitman in 2003, six years before Diaz left Whitman's employ, notifying her that her employee had a name and Social Security Number that did not match.

At issue was whether or not either Whitman or Marsh saw the letter from the IRS regarding inconsistencies with Ms. Diaz's Social Security Number. What both Diaz and Whitman agreed on was that on June 20, 2009 Diaz confessed her immigration status to Whitman.

According to Whitman, she suspended Diaz the same day and terminated her employment on June 29, 2009, after consulting with her attorney.

The couple hired Diaz in 2000 through Town and Country Resources, a placement service that, along with Whitman and Harsh,held they did not know that Diaz was in the U.S. illegally and unable to work at the time they placed her. When Diaz moved from being a contractor for Town and County to working directly for Whitman is unclear. Also at issue was whether Town and County fulfilled their legal responsibility to verify the information Diaz reported on her tax documents or whether they took her at her word. If they failed to verify her claim that she was legally able to work in the U.S., they may have left themselves legally vulnerable.

Diaz, however, was soon being represented by high profile attorney Gloria Allred. Both Diaz and Allred held that Whitman, in fact, was aware of her immigration status long before 2009. Diaz also charged that Whitman treated her poorly during her employment. Whitman's campaign refuted both charges, countering that Diaz was lying and being used for political and financial gain.

It was 2003 when the IRS sent a letter to Whitman and Harsh informing them that Diaz's name and SSN did not match. Both Whitman and her husband initially said they could not recall ever having seen the letter, suggesting that Diaz, whose duties included picking up mail, may have intercepted it. At a press conference on the 29th, Whitman said, "She might have been on the lookout for that letter. It would pain me to believe that that's what she might have done but I have no other explanation."

Legal documents that Miss Diaz filled out when she applied for work with Town and Country Resources seem to support the claim that she lied about her immigration status to both the placement agency and to Whitman.[80]

Diaz filled out a W-4 and an I-9, and provided a California driver's license and a Social Security Card. That she lied to the placement agency and, indirectly, to Whitman, does not seem to be at issue. However, at what point Whitman knew about Diaz's deception has enormous political consequences.

On September 30, 2010, Gloria Allred countered that she could prove Whitman did in fact know about Diaz being in the U.S. illegally years before firing her housekeeper. Allred announced that she had possession of the 2003 IRS letter, asking Whitman to clarify why she had an employee with an inconsistent name and SSN.[81] Allred explained having the "no-match" letter by saying that Diaz had found it in the trash.[82]

The Whitman campaign next made an initial statement in response to Allred's allegations:

“We never received those letters. And when we hired Nicky we used an employment agency. Nicky provided her social security card, a California drivers license, she filled out a 1099 because we told the employment agency we have to hire people only who are documented to work here, so we had no idea that she was not here legally.”

Whitman also suggested that her former employee and her famous counsel were coordinating with Jerry Brown's campaign in what was intended to be a political attack. Allred's response, in part, read, "No one from Jerry Brown’s campaign has contacted me, I haven’t contacted them. As far as my client goes Nicky doesn’t know anyone in politics, was not contacted by the Brown campaign, she didn’t contact them."

On the afternoon of September 30, 2010, Allred released the IRS "no-match" letter, with a handwritten note on it reading, "Nicky, please check this. Thanks." Griffin Harsh, Meg Whitman's husband, commented that it is possible he wrote the note and gave the letter to Allred, but he strongly maintained he has no memory of seeing the letter and pointed out that the handwriting might not even be his.[83] Whitman, however, admitted in a press conference that the handwriting does look like her husband's script.[84] The letter pointedly states that, ."..this letter makes no statement about your employee's immigration status," something Whitman's camp has pointed out emphatically.

Allred also helped her client file a claim for wages and mileage reimbursement, totaling $6,210, that Diaz claimed she was never paid. In response to Whitman's claims that the timing of Diaz's allegations was politically motivated, Diaz made another televised appearance in which she stated, "I make my own decisions. I'm not anyone's puppet. I knew the risks of speaking out."[85]

UPDATE: Allred later left the case but Nicky Diaz's immigration attorney, Marc Van Der Hout, publicly remarked that his client has a work history and a record of paying taxes in the U.S. stretching back 20 years, something he hoped would bolster her quest for legal residency.

Hout said another attorney referred Diaz to him several months ago. He declined to name the attorney and denied charges that Jerry Brown's campaign and its supporters had anything to do with steering Diaz to him.[86]

Jerry Brown may have violated sanctions against Cuba

  • This section was originally published on October 5, 2010 at 2:41 PM and was updated on October 6, 2010 at 3:24 PM to reflect a request from the U.S. Treasury's Office of Public Affairs to clarify the legal requirements for travel to Cuba under the current sanctions.

According to allegations, a July 2000 political junket that Jerry Brown and staff took to Cuba was in violation of America's sanctions against the Communist dictatorship. Brown's trip came when his political ambitions were at a relative lull; years had passed since his failed Presidential bid and his tenure as California's Attorney General was years ahead. In those days, he was just the mayor of Oakland, officially making a trip to formalize Oakland's sister-city status with Santiago de Cuba.[87]

In the summer of 2000, Cuba's "Maximum Leader," Fidel Castro, was on a PR high, having secured the return of six-year old Elian Gonzalez from Miami where the child had been staying with family. Brown, during the week in spent in the island, enjoyed a meal with Gonzalez and spent substantial time with Castro himself.

While Brown's trip has been a matter of public record for a decade, the fresh attention it received came from an article, published in The Daily Beast and the San Francisco Sentinel, detailing Brown's movements on the island and reporting snippets of conversation. The author, Ann Louise Bardach, an expert on Cuba, was in Havana to the time to cover the Elian Gonzalez story. She met with Brown at the beginning of his week-long trip.

More recent reports reported Brown's entire trip was set up by a former CIA agent who became a double agent for Cuba before defecting to the island.

Phillip Agee, a CIA expert on Latin America in the 1960s, divulged the names of hundred of American agents before fleeing the United States in the mid-1970s; many in America's intelligence community believe information he divulged led to at least one murder.[88] MI6, Britain's intelligence agency, also connected the assassinations of two of their agents in Poland to Agee's leaked info.[89] After setting up in Havana, Agee reinvented himself as a travel agent, and eventually came to count Jerry Brown as a client.[90] Agee was candid about his ambitions for his "Cubalinda" travel agency: "Well, I would like to see people ignore the law, that is to the degree the law doesn't have any meaning anymore." Agee also admitted that he was instructing his American clients to make payments through European accounts to skirt regulations on U.S. travel to Cuba.

Of Agee's services, Brown allegedly said, he's "a very good travel everything done...he’s quite a guy.”[91]

At the time of Brown's excursion, Agee's U.S. passport had long been revoked and his travel agency was not on the list of OFAC's approved businesses. OFAC, the Office of Foreign Asset Control, operates under the auspices of the U.S. Treasury, whose approval is legally required before American citizens may travel to Cuba. U.S. Sanctions against Cuba fall under the "Trading with the Enemy Act" and are specifically enumerated in the Cuban Assets Control Regulations, 31 CFR Part 515. According to OFAC guidelines for travel to Cuba, "Unless authorized by a general or specific license, any person subject to U.S. jurisdiction who engages in any Cuba travel-related transaction violates the Regulations."[92]

Any traveler to Cuba who is subject to U.S. jurisdiction is also legally required to comply with Treasury regulations on travel providers: "Any person subject to U.S. jurisdiction who provides services akin to those of a travel agent...must be specifically licensed as a Travel Service Provider prior to providing any of these services (see section 515.572(a)(1) of the Regulations). A traveler should not use any travel agent or tour operator in the United States that is not a Travel Service Provider."[93]

Ultimately, Brown would travel to the Gonzalez family home with Castro, take lunch with the dictator twice, join Communist officials in the VIP box at a Castro speech, and make his way back to the Havana airport the night he left in the Cuban presidential limousine, chatting with Fidel Castro all the while.[94]

Back in California, Brown penned an L.A. Times op-ed against the embargo and talked to the San Francisco Chronicle about his island idyll.[95] At the time, the Chronicle noted the excursions with Castro were, "not part of the itinerary approved by the U.S. State Department, which prohibits meetings between U.S. and Cuban government officials."[96] However, as Oakland's mayor, Brown was a public official and thus subject to less stringent regulations than a U.S. government official would have faced. At the time, Brown told the SF Chronicle he has not been contacted by the U.S. State Department.

In the summer of 2000, Bill Clinton's administration was unlikely to pursue such a case against Americans visiting Cuba. Five months later, when George W. Bush assumed office, Washington turned renewed attention to enforcing sanctions and prosecutions became more common. President Bush's father, George H.W. Bush, once the director of the CIA, numbers among the intelligence officials who believe that Phillip's Agree, Brown's travel agent, leaked information led to the murder of at least one of the agents he compromised.

Jerry Brown's office and campaign spokesmen declined to respond to questions about the trip all those years ago.

Unidentified voice on Brown campaign recording refers to Meg Whitman as a "whore"

In early September, both Brown and Whitman were chasing the endorsement of California's police union. Brown placed a call to the Los Angeles Police Protective League and reached the voicemail of Scott Rate. After leaving a message requesting a call back, he turned backed to a conversation with an aide, unaware he had not, in fact, hung up the phone.[97]

What was captured on the voicemail recording and handed over to the Los Angeles Times led to an apology from Brown, outrage from Whitman's people, and a fresh round of editorializing on misogyny masquerading as political debate.[98]

Brown was upset that the union wanted something for its members in return for a campaign endorsement. In seeking the union's endorsement, he was under pressure to agree to exempt their members from cutbacks to penions. Whitman had already gone on the record agreeing to such a deal. Musing aloud on how to respond, Brown says:

"Do we want to put an ad out? … That I have been warned if I crack down on pensions, I will be — that they'll go to Whitman, and that's where they'll go because they know Whitman will give 'em, will cut them a deal, but I won't."[99]

It is the next sentence that has caused the uproar. Whether it is Brown's voice or that of an aide was unclear, but the speaker plainly asks, "What about saying she's a whore?"

Next, a voice that is clearly Brown says, ""Well, I'm going to use that. It proves you've cut a secret deal to protect the pensions."

The Los Angeles Police Protective League, which ultimately endorsed Whitman and is spending $450,000 on her behalf, released two taps to the Times on October 7, 2010. The original version sounds like the speaker is someone other than Brown. The enhanced version leaves it open to debate whether it is Brown or an aide who makes the damning "whore" comment.

Both the original and enhanced audio versions are available online.

Brown's staff confirmed the tapes authenticity but denied it was Brown's voice uttering the key line. Sterling Clifford, a campaign spokesmen, said, ""I am confident it was not Jerry Brown. Whoever said it is speaking over the top of him in several places." The Brown camp investigated internally the identity of the staffer who did make the remark.

The campaign also made an official apology to Meg Whitman. "We apologize to Ms. Whitman and anyone who may have been offended," said campaign manager Stephen Glazer. He called the discussion, "a private conversation" and explained, "at times our language was salty."

Sarah Pompei, spokesman for Meg Whitman, responded that even if Brown was not the speaker, his failure to rebuke the staffer who did use the slur is unacceptable. "The use of the term 'whore' is an insult to both Meg Whitman and to the women of California. This is an appalling and unforgivable smear against Meg Whitman. At the very least Mr. Brown tacitly approved this despicable slur and he himself may have used the term at least once on this recording."

UPDATE: Brown's campainiannounced the results of its internal investigation and says dtheir candidate did not make the offensive comment, although there was no public announcement of who did.[100]

UPDATE: Proving that not all women tok exception to the recording, the National Organization of Women gave its endorsement to Brown, making the announcement the day after the "whore" recording came out.[101]

In the final debate, asked about the incident, Brown referred to it as a "five week old private conversation" and wondered aloud if releasing the recording had evne been legal. The point quickly became a sore one and the candidates traded barbs while the audience vocally weighed in.

Breitbart TV' 'Jerry' Brown on 'Whore' Recording ad'

2006 sexual assault allegations against Meg Whitman's son resurface

Griffith Rutherford Harsh, V, son of Republican nominee Meg Whitman, faced allegations of sexual assault as an undergraduate at Princeton University. No charges were ever brought, nor were any arrests ever made. The school handled the entire investigation internally and, three years after the alleged incident, "Griff" graduated in the class of 2009.[102]

However, on October 22, tabloid and gossip website Gawker ran a piece on the story, throwing yet another 'October surprise' at Whitman's campaign. The blow comes at a time when the Democrat Jerry Brown's polls numbers showed a steady, if small, lead.

According to the story, Griff Harsh spent a spring evening in 2006 partying along the Street, a row of ritzy private dining clubs connected to various undergraduate associations at Princeton. He met a female classmate and the two of them went home together. The next morning, the young woman allegedly awoke with severe bruises and with no memory of the previous evening, including spending the night with Griff Harsh.

Gawker cited several friends of the young woman who said she believed she was raped but was also too terrified to make a police report. The day after the incident, she went to the campus health center, at which point Princeton launched an internal investigation.

It led to a hearing before the University's Committee on Discipline. Mr. Harsh said in his testimony that he thought the woman was sober enough to consent and that her bruises resulted from an accidental fall. He also testified the night in question had been the third time the two were intimate, something he pointed to as evidence that the woman consented.

Ultimately, Princeton ruled that there was insufficent evidence to take disciplinary action against Harsh.

Princeton University, Meg Whitman's campaign, Mr. Harsh, and the woman who made the accusation all declined to comment on the story.


Whitman and Brown scheduled three televised debates, with the first round set for September 28, 2010.[103]

The debates represented an opportunity for both candidates to demonstrate their empathy to voters, nearly a fifth of whom estill undecided before the first debate, and most of whom perceived both candidates negatively - the dividend of months of attack ads. Whitman's propensity for soundbites and Brown's tendency to wander into tangential topics when he speaks without a script were both bound to be tested.[104]

The schedule was as follows:

  • September 28, 2010 at the University of California
    • sponsored by The Sacramento Bee, KCRA-TV and Capitol Public Radio

Facing of for the first formal debate, Brown and Whitman both touted plans to downsize the government and wrangle with California's out of control deficit, talking points usually reserved to Republican candidates.

The jabs came early, with Brown accusing Whitman of representing only the wealthiest voters in the state and Whitman shooting back that Brown is in the pocket of unions.[105]1MOmwtO4,"

  • 11:00 am on October 2, 2010 at Cal-State Fresno
    • sponsored by The Fresno Bee and Univision

With a debate set to air on Spanish language television station Univision, Meg Whitman's then fresh public image problems related to Nicky Diaz, a housekeeper she fired after learning that Diaz was in the U.S. illegally, were sure to be the topic.

Witman and Brown spent nearly half an hour going back and forth over the headlines triggered by Miss Diaz's revelations, though they also touched on healthcare and the state's economic plight.[106]

  • October 12, 2010 at Dominican University in San Rafael
    • sponsored by NBC

Campaign ads

California Working Families

Knowing the rest of the nation was watching, California certainly putting on a captivating show as Republican Meg Whitman and Democratic Jerry Brown vied for votes. No sooner had Whitman sealed the GOP nomination than unions and labor groups began sponsoring ads against her candidacy. Several groups formed a coalition called California Working Families for Jerry Brown, a group which was the source of many of Whitman's headaches. CWF's spots targeted spending and taxation proposals in Whitman's platform as being damaging to middle class families and as threatening to strip away vital safety net services. When looked at the charges, they found California Working Families misrepresented Whitman's policy while overstating Brown record on taxes.[107] At the heart of the debate was Whitman's policy plan, the 48-page Building a New California.

But the same Fact Check report cast a scrutinizing eye on the an ad Whitman had just launched, a spot called 'Their Governor'. In it, California's dire pension situation was linked to Brown's policies, something that independent analysis of the seeds of the crisis said did't hold water. California Working Families began running 'Misleading' on July 9, 2010 and 'World' on July 13, 2010; the former asked voters if they want to live in 'Whitman's World' while the latter presented itself as a fact check on Whitman's record.

The Whitman campaign launched a return volley with 'Their Governor' on July 13, 2010, portraying Jerry Brown as the candidate who was out of touch with voters. On September 1, 2010, California Working Families announced they would take a "less visible" roll in the gubernatorial campaign going forward.[108] By then, their combined expenditures for television, radio, and online ads targeting Whitman came in at $8.7 million. Bob Balgenorth and Lou Paulson, each head of one of labor groups under the CWF umbrella, announced they were stepping down as co-chairs of the committee that ran the ads, remarking that they felt CWF had accomplished its goal of, ."..keep[ing] Meg Whitman from running away with this campaign...."

The announced cessation of the CWF ads came as Jerry Brown, who had yet to run any ads, prepared to launch his first round of campaign spots. According to Whitman campaign sources, the timing was a bothersome indication of coordination between Brown's campaign and sympathetic political committees.

CWF launched at least one ad, "Billionaire", in which Meg Whitman's personal wealth and her donations to her own campaign were held out as proof she was not in tune with the average Californian. The ad, available on Vimeo but apparently not uploaded to YouTube, was tracked to edited and rearranged lyrics to the radio-friendly hip-hop song "Billionaire", by "Gym Class Heroes" frontman Travie McCoy.

California Working Families' 'World' ad.

California Working Families' 'Misleading' ad.

Meg Whitman for Governor's 'Their Governor' ad.

California Working Families' 'Billionaire' ad.

Autumn campaign ads

Just after Labor Day, Jerry Brown's campaign rolled out its first ad, a 30-second TV spot that began playing state-wide on September 7, 2010. Estimated to cost the Brown campaign $1.2 million per week, the spot touted Brown's track record and acumen in cutting costs and balancing budgets

Jerry Brown for Governor' 'JB401' ad.

Bill Clinton and Pinocchio

If Californian elections didn't already command national scrutiny, Whitman and Brown would have been getting attention anyway. Meg Whitman's first volley harkened back to 1992, when Jerry Brown was running for the Presidency. In an interview with C-SPAN, Bill Clinton criticized Brown's record and quoted a CNN report to back up his charges. The footage, showing Clinton arguing that Brown's record on fiscal management and taxation were lacking, made up the core of Whitman's ad.[109]

More recently, Clinton endorsed San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom in the opening round of California's gubernatorial contest. Newsom later dropped out and refiled to run as lieutenant governor, a primary he won - making him Jerry Brown's running mate.

Brown's immediate response to seeing an old political rival's words brought back was to utter a comment that amounted to a play on words on Clinton's infamous, "I did not have sexual relations with that woman" denial of the Lewinsky scandal, an assertion the President later had to take back.[110] In amateur video shot at a September 12th campaign event, Brown then spoke the rather damning, "I mean, Clinton's a nice guy, but who said he always told the truth?"

Nearly as soon as he'd said it, Brown apologized.[111] However, that Brown directed the jab not at his current opponent but at a man he faced two decades ago raised eyebrows. Such infighting, along with Whitman's lead in polls at that point, was taken in some quarters as a sign of things to come.

As for the CNN study that Clinton relied on in the 1992 clip, its accuracy was questioned over the issue of what year was used as the "base year" for fiscal calculations in assessing Brown's performance. Whitman's camp, however, said Clinton's point was valid then and in 2010, insisting, "Absolutely not, the essential elements of that ad are absolutely true."[112] The author of the paper, Brooks Jackson, admitted there was a mistake with some of the historical tax charts used to arrive at come of the paper's conclusions but also held that many of the criticisms were correct.[113]

In political circles, rumors held that Jerry Brown and Bill Clinton had a testy relationship at best.[114] However, Clinton publicly stated that he and Brown long since put the 1992 Presidential season behind them and are now friends. In a much more tangible gesture, the former President formally endorsed Brown's gubernatorial bid on September 14, 2010. Remarking, in part, "he would be an excellent governor at a time when California needs his creativity and fiscal prudence," Clinton made no reference to the Whitman ad or to Brown's own comments.

Meg Whitman for Governor' 'Jerry Brown's Good Old Days' ad.

Whitman responded to Brown's public demand that she take down the ad with an equally public refusal. The next move came from Brown's campaign, who had a pair of 15-second spots out by the end of the day on September 14, 2010,likening Whitman to Pinocchio, with a penchant for lying and an ever-growing nose.[115] That the ads were direct responses to Whitman's ad was made clear by the Brown campaign.

Jerry Brown for Governor' 'JB404' ad.

Jerry Brown for Governor' 'JB403' ad.

Whitman's only response was through campaign spokesman Andrea Jones-Rivera, who commented, "Jerry Brown is doing exactly what a 40-year career politician would do: Run from his real record and launch character attacks."[116]

California Teacher's Association

Whitman also spent the fall fighting the California Teacher's Association, a union supporting Brown for governor, over an ad they produced claiming Whitman would cut $7 billion from education funding. Whitman categorically denied the statement, saying "I want more money in the classroom," at a Culver City, CA appearance.

Her campaign's legal counsel wrote, in part, "As you know, your station can be held libel for slanderous or libelous statements made by a non-candidate sponsor of political advertising." At least seven stations pulled the ad and both Comcast and TimeWarner media also ceased airing it.[117]

Responding to the letter, the CTA issued a statement late in the afternoon in September 14, 2010, in which spokesman Sandra Jackson said the $7 billion figure had been extrapolated from policy pamphlets published by the Whitman campaign. Several other stations who had been running the ad wsere still evaluating the letter from Whitman's attorneys when the CTA made its statement.[118]


As part of a $5 million effort to boost Democrat Jerry Brown, the Service Employees International Union launched a 30-second Spanish language attack spot trained on Meg Whitman's past employment of a housekeeper who turned out to be concealing her immigration status from the placement agency that sent her to work for Whitman.

The add alleged that Whitman knew of her housekeeper, Nicky Diaz's, ineligibility to work in the U.S. but did not act on it.

SEIU' '9 Años' ad.

Political landscape

In 2010, both United States Senators from California were Democrats. California's delegation to the U.S. House of Representatives was made up of 34 Democrats and 19 Republicans. Both the State House and State Senate were controlled by Democratic majorities. The current Governor at the time, Arnold Schwarzenegger, was a Republican.

Recent Presidential election results:
2008 - Barack Obama: 61.01% John McCain: 36.95%
2004 - John Kerry: 54% George W. Bush: 44%

Gubernatorial electoral history

1998 Gubernatorial Results[119]
Candidates Percentage
Gray Davis (D) 58.0%
Dan Lungren (R) 38.4%
Dan Hamburg (G) 1.2%
Steve W. Kubby (L) 0.9%
Gloria Estela La Riva (PFP) 0.7%
Nathan E. Johnson (AMI) 0.4%
Harold H. Bloomfield (NL) 0.4%
Total votes 8,385,175
2002 Gubernatorial Results[120]
Candidates Percentage
Gray Davis (D) 47.3%
Bill Simon (R) 42.4%
Peter Camejo (G) 5.3%
Gary Copeland (L) 2.2%
Reinhold Gulke (AMI) 1.7%
Iris Adam (NL) 1.2%
Total votes 7,473,980
2006 Gubernatorial Results[121]
Candidates Percentage
Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) 55.9%
Phil Angelides (D) 38.9%
Peter Camejos (G) 2.4%
Art Olivier (L) 1.3%
Janice Jordan (PFP) 0.8%
Edward Noonan (AMI) 0.7%
Total votes 8,679,048

Presidential electoral history

2000 Presidential Results
Candidates Percentage
George W. Bush (R) 41.7%
Al Gore (D) 53.5%
2004 Presidential Results
Candidates Percentage
George W. Bush (R) 44.4%
John Kerry (D) 54.3%
2008 Presidential Results[122]
Candidates Percentage
John McCain (R) 36.9%
Barack Obama (D) 60.0%
1992 Presidential Results
Candidates Percentage
George H.W. Bush (R) 32.6%
Bill Clinton (D) 46.0%
1996 Presidential Results
Candidates Percentage
Bob Dole (R) 38.2%
Bill Clinton (D) 51.1%

See also

External links

Candidate pages


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