Difference between revisions of "Jerry Brown"

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Jerry Brown
Jerry Brown 1.jpg
Governor of California
In office
1975 - 1983, 2011 - Present
Term ends
January 5, 2015
Years in position (current service)4
Years in position (previous service)8
PredecessorArnold Schwarzenegger (R)
Base salary$173,987
Elections and appointments
First electedNovember 2, 2010
Next generalNovember 4, 2014
Campaign $$60,322,312
Term limits2 terms (not including previous service as governor)
Prior offices
California Secretary of State
1971 - 1975
Mayor of Oakland
1999 - 2006
Attorney General of California
2007 - 2011
High schoolSt. Ignatius High School
Bachelor'sUniversity of California-Berkeley (1961)
J.D.Yale Law School (1964)
Date of birthApril 7, 1938
Place of birthSan Francisco, California
ProfessionAttorney, radio show host
Office website
Personal website
Campaign website
Edmund Gerald "Jerry" Brown, Jr. (born April 7, 1938, in San Francisco, California) is the 39th Democratic Governor of California. He is currently in his third non-consecutive term in the office. On October 5, 2013, Brown became the longest-serving governor in California history.[1]

He was most recently re-elected on November 2, 2010 and sworn in on January 1, 2011 for a term ending in January of 2015.

Brown previously served as the 34th Governor of California, from 1975 to 1983. Because Brown was elected to both of his terms as the 34th governor before the new terms limits law was passed in 1990, he was eligible to run again in 2010. In a protracted battle, he edged out Republican Meg Whitman in the 2010 general election.[2]

In 1982, Brown set a record when he approved 98 percent of the bills presented to him by the state legislature.[3] Following the 2010-2012 legislative session, the Associated Press presented analysis showing Brown to have the highest rate of bill singing of any governor since he left office the first time.[3][3] Brown presides in concert with a Democratic majority in both chambers of the state legislature, which translates to a higher rate of bill approval.

Before he assumed the governorship for the first time, Brown had served one term as Secretary of State of California. Brown remained active on the political scene between his stints in the governor's office. He was chair of the California Democratic Party from 1989 to 1991, mayor of Oakland, CA from 1998 to 2006 and then returned to state row in 2007 following his election as state attorney general. As attorney general, Brown brought suits against Standard Oil of California, International Telephone and Telegraph, Gulf Oil, and Mobil for violation of campaign-finance laws, often arguing in person before the California State Supreme Court, and enforcing laws requiring members of the California State Legislature to disclose sources of campaign funds.

Brown's electoral history also includes three unsuccessful runs for President of the United States - in 1976, 1980 and 1991 - and for U.S. Senate in 1982.[4]

His experience outside politics includes founding the Oakland School for the Arts and the Oakland Military Institute and working as an attorney for the firm of Tuttle and Taylor.[5]

Brown is up for re-election in 2014. He secured a spot for his post in the June 3 top-two primary.[6] The general election took place November 4, 2014.


Brown was born on April 7, 1938 in San Francisco, California. He is a graduate of St. Ignatius High School, the University of California at Berkeley, and Yale Law School.

Shortly after receiving his law degree, Brown worked as a law clerk for Justice Matthew Tobriner at the California State Supreme Court. He later went on to study briefly in both Mexico and Latin America. Brown returned to the United States and was admitted to the California State Bar, after having initially failed the bar exam. He joined the Los Angeles private practice law firm of Tuttle & Taylor.

Beginning in 1995, Brown hosted a daily call-in talk show on the local Pacifica Radio station, KPFA-FM, in Berkeley, California. Both the radio program and Brown's political action organization, based in Oakland, were called We the People. His programs, usually featuring invited guests, generally explored alternative views on a wide range of social and political issues, from education and health care to spirituality and the death penalty. He strongly critiqued both the Democratic and Republican parties, often referring to himself as a "recovering politician."


  • St. Ignatius High School
  • Attended Santa Clara University
  • Attended Sacred Heart Novitiate (1958)
  • BA, Classics, University of California at Berkeley (1961)
  • JD, Yale Law School (1964)

Political career

Governor of California (2011-present)

Brown became the longest-serving governor in state history on October 15, 2013, which fell during his third non-consecutive term in the office.[1]

Job creation ranking

In a June 2013 analysis by The Business Journals, which ranked 45 of the country's 50 governors by their job creation records, Brown was ranked number 10. The five governors omitted from the analysis all assumed office in 2013. The ranking was based on a comparison of the annual private sector growth rate in all 50 states using data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.[7][8]

Judicial appointments

As governor, Brown is responsible for appointing judges to California state courts. Nominees to the California Supreme Court and California Courts of Appeal must be confirmed by the California Commission on Judicial Appointments. Appointed appellate judges stand for retention in the gubernatorial election following appointment; judges of the Superior Courts run for the seat in the next general election. For an up-to-date list of all of Brown's appointees, see Judgepedia's page on his appointments.

Veto rate

The secretary of the California Senate reported that when Brown served his first two terms as governor (between 1975-1983), he approved bills at a rate of 96% on average, "and set a record in 1982 when he approved 98 percent of the bills that crossed his desk."[3] While he did not break the record he set in 1982, after the fall 2012 surge of legislative activity subsided, The Associated Press published an analysis of Brown's signing and vetoing behavior during the 2010-2012 legislative session that showed him to have the highest rate of bill singing of any governor since he left office the first time.[3] Records collected from the California State Library and the secretary of the California State Senate revealed that Brown vetoed 13 percent of the 1,866 bills the legislature put before him over the last two years.[3] Before Brown returned to the governor's office, GOP Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed bills at a rate of 27%. Under Brown, California has a Democratic trifecta, meaning the governor and both chambers of the state legislature are controlled by the Democratic Party. This partisan alignment translates to a higher rate of bill approval in contrast with the experience of his Republican predecessor.

Adult education transfer

In his 2013-14 budget, Brown proposed granting California's community colleges sole responsibility for adult education, instead of leaving adult education to both K-12 schools and community colleges. The governor's budget summary for K-12 education explained that this change would improve upon the existing plan. Presently, school districts do not have specifically earmarked funds for adult education and so adult education funding has been significantly reduced in recent years due to budget cuts. According to the summary, "the proposal eliminates the current bifurcated system and places the community colleges in a position to improve coordination at the regional and statewide levels. Community colleges are better positioned than K‑12 schools to address the needs of adult learners because that is their core function." The community college system would be allocated $300 million in block grants for K-12 adult education and $15.7 million for the apprenticeship program.[9] While commending the governor for addressing the need for restructuring K-12 adult education, the California Legislative Analyst's Office referred to possible alternatives to the governor's proposal in its previous reports.[10] In December 2012, for example, the LAO recommended requiring school districts to separate the funding for adult education from their general funds.[11] The California Council for Adult Education (CCAE) released talking points which said that "the shift of the responsibility of Adult Education to the Community Colleges is problematic" for many reasons, including that the 300 K-12 adult education centers are more accessible to and considered more "culturally proficient" by many Californians who use their services than community colleges would be.[12]

Environmental-agency legislation

Brown approved a number of changes regarding environmental agency policy during the fall of 2012.[13] Among them was a bill to change the name of the Department of Fish and Game to the Department of Fish and Wildlife.[14] Assembly Bill 2402 aims to concentrate the department's efforts on ecosystem conservation through science-based policy. Other provisions include expanding the department's collection of fees beyond the money raised through hunting and fishing licenses and the department's law enforcement capabilities. The same week, Brown approved a state ban on "the centuries-old practice" of using hounds to hunt bears and other natural predators. The third change, SB 1148, to earn Brown's signature that week will allow the department, which will be rechristened January 1, 2013, to raise money by contracting with nonprofit conservation groups "to manage state-owned lands and charge fees for using more of its properties." The money raised could offset the $300,000, according to the state legislature's estimates, it will cost the department to redo the department's website and computer systems, as well as help curtail the state's persistent financial crisis.[15]


See also: Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now

Throughout his tenure as Governor of California, Brown has singled out the embattled liberal political organization, ACORN, for praise, saying, "[I]n this job I spend my time calling on that same network of community organizers that has been there right along…When I talk to people about community programs, I want to talk to the people from ACORN and Fair Share and Mass Advocacy -- all the community groups that I've known over a period of years."[16]

In June 2001, Brown, as mayor of Oakland, worked closely with both ACORN and ACORN Housing on an anti-predatory lending campaign called "Don't Borrow Trouble."

The June 2008 Survey and Scorecard report published by ACORN gave Brown an A letter grade. The report was published to shine the spotlight on state attorneys general "leading the fight to protect homeowners from joining the flood of Americans losing their homes to foreclosure," so says the group.[17] The grade distributed to the individual attorneys general "generally broke down along party lines," with the exception of Louisiana's Buddy Caldwell.[18]

In September 2009, conservative investigative journalists James O'Keefe and Hanna Giles posed as a pimp and a prostitute and secretly videotaped conversations with ACORN employees. Reps in various offices across the country, including the San Diego branch office where Juan Carlos Vera worked, counseled the pair on how to set up a brothel for young girls, barely thirteen years of age, from El Salvador. When asked how such an operation should be reported to the IRS, several individuals supplied the needed information. Following the release of the tapes, Vera was fired. A month later, Brown's office announced it was opening an inquest into both ACORN and the circumstances under which the political action group was videotaped. California Penal Code Section 632 prohibits the recording of 'confidential communications' without consent. California is one of twelve states that require notification of both parties prior to recording. In 1989, a California State appellate court ruled that "this statute applies to the use of hidden video cameras to record conversations as well."[19]

ACORN official David Lagstein, speaking to the East County Democrat club on October 15 about the California Attorney General Jerry Brown's investigation, seemed to suggest the fix was in.[20] He assured supporters, saying, "The attorney general is a political animal, but certainly every bit of the communication we have had with them has suggested that the fault will be found with the people that did the video and not the people with ACORN."[21]

Cuba trip

Nearly a week after Meg Whitman, the Republican gubernatorial nominee in California, was dealt a political setback with allegations over her dismissal of a maid who was an illegal resident in the United States, Brown faced a scandal of his own involving the Latino community. According to allegations, a July 2000 political junket that Jerry Brown, who at the time was Mayor of Oakland, and his staff took to Cuba was in violation of America's sanctions against the Communist dictatorship. The purpose of the trip was to formalize Oakland's sister-city status with Santiago de Cuba.[22] While Brown's trip has been a matter of public record for a decade, the fresh attention it is receiving comes from an article, published in The Daily Beast and the San Francisco Chronicle, detailing Brown's movements on the island and reporting snippets of conversation.[23][24]

Later reports said 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.[25] MI6, Britain's intelligence agency, also connects the assassinations of two of their agents in Poland to Agee's leaked info.[26] After setting up in Havana, he reinvented himself as a travel agent, and eventually came to count Jerry Brown as a client.[27] 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 agent...got everything done...he’s quite a guy.”[23]

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."[28]

"Whore" comment

A private conversation that was inadvertently recorded via a voicemail message machine in 2010 showed Brown supposedly willing to slander his Republican opponent, Meg Whitman, as a "whore" after she announced she would "exempt public safety officials from key parts of her pension reform plan," something Brown refused to do as State Attorney General.[29] The controversial comment came after Brown telephoned the Los Angeles Police Protective League and left a voicemail message requesting their endorsement in the gubernatorial contest. Brown, believing he had hung up the phone, then engaged in a conversation with his campaign aides, venting his frustration that his refusal to concede to an exemption for police officers in his state pension reform proposal could cost him their endorsements. When the repartee turned to the discussion of releasing an advertisement blasting Whitman for this compromise, an aide interjects by asking if they should say that she is a whore. Brown, in response, said, "Whore. Well, I am going to use that."[30] While acknowledging the conversation took place, a spokesman for the Brown campaign argued that the gubernatorial candidate "was responding to the notion of accusing Whitman of cutting a deal to gain endorsements, not to the use of the word ‘whore,’" though the tape itself seems to suggest otherwise.[31]

Attorney General of California (2007-2011)

In early 2004, Brown expressed interest in running forAttorney General of California in the 2006 election. On May 18, 2004, he formally filed the necessary papers to begin his campaign for the nomination, including a sworn declaration with the statement "I meet the statutory and constitutional qualifications for this office (including, but not limited to, citizenship, residency, and party affiliation, if required)."

Brown had an active Democratic primary opponent, Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo. Delgadillo put most of his money into TV ads attacking Brown and spent $4.1 million on the primary campaign. Regardless, Brown easily defeated Delgadillo, 63% to 37%.[32] In the general election, Brown defeated Republican State Senator Charles Poochigian 56.3% to 38.2%, which was the largest margin of victory in any statewide race except in the United States Senate in which Dianne Feinstein's opponent did not mount a strong challenge.[33]

As the Attorney General of California, Brown brought suits against Standard Oil of California, International Telephone and Telegraph, Gulf Oil, and Mobil for violation of campaign-finance laws, often arguing in person before the California State Supreme Court, and enforcing laws requiring members of the California State Legislature to disclose sources of campaign funds. He played a significant role in the drafting and passage of Proposition 9 - The California Fair Political Practices Act, which established the California Fair Political Practices Commission (CFPPC). The mission of the CFPPC is to investigate alleged violations of the Political Reform Act, impose penalties when appropriate, and assist state and local agencies in developing and enforcing conflict-of-interest codes.


State public employee pension
See also: Public pensions in California

Brown stole the California political spotlight in late-July 2010 when he laid into the governmental employees of Bell, a city located outside Los Angeles that is one of the poorest in the state, after the Los Angeles Times, "reported that the city manager makes almost $800K a year and stands to receive a pension worth $30 million."[34] He called the outlandish salaries "shocking and beyond belief" and called for a full scale investigation into the matter.[35] As a state public employee himself, however, local political watchdog groups question whether Brown's words and actions in this regard are a bit hypocritical.

Overseen by the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, also known as CalPERS, the Legislators' Retirement System (LRS), established in 1947, operates as a special pension program for elected constitutional officers, legislative statutory officers, and members of the state legislature prior to November 7, 1990. The LRS operated in relative obscurity until the passage of Proposition 140 in 1990, which limited the number of terms that California state senators and representatives can stay in office and, perhaps most importantly in regards to this issue, eliminated pensions for state lawmakers. As a result, only thirteen working public officials are members of the independent pension program. Still, even in light of this attempt at local governmental reform, the law "prevents" either CalPERS or LRS from answering questions pertaining to specific members.

In spite of this obstacle, the Orange County Watchdog combed through the LRS actuarial statements and found an individual who matches Jerry Brown's age and salary. If this is indeed Jerry Brown, there appears to be a discrepancy in the records according to the Watchdog. The LRS has this person listed as having served twenty-five to twenty-nine years in public office; again, if this is Brown, he should only have sixteen years of service. Sterling Clifford, a spokesman for the Brown gubernatorial campaign, claims that neither he nor the attorney general's office know what is going on here. He did, however, note that Brown "started receiving an annual pension of about $20,000 when he turned 60 in 1998 and pocketed it every year until he assumed the attorney general’s office, when it was suspended."[36] What is at issue here are tens of thousands of state taxpayer dollars - if he served sixteen years, Brown's annual LRS pension salary would come to $73,720; if, however, it was twenty-five years or more, as LRS actuarial statements appear to suggest, it would be $110,580. This comes to a difference of $36,860.

Proposition 8
See also: California Proposition 8 (2008)

Though the attorney general of a state normally argues in support of laws that have been passed by the electorate, Brown took the unusual, and extremely controversial, step of declining to defend Proposition 8, a voter-approved amendment to the state constitution that banned same-sex marriage. Filing his own legal challenge against the amendment, Brown came to the conclusion that Proposition 8 "deprives people of the right to marry, an aspect of liberty that the Supreme Court has concluded is guaranteed by the California Constitution."[37][38]

On May 26, 2009, the California State Supreme Court surprisingly voted 6-1 to uphold Proposition 8 on state constitutional grounds.

In spite of this ruling, however, Brown continues to oppose defending the law, arguing in front of a federal court that the initiative "violates federal due process and equal protection guarantees" promised in the Fourteenth Amendment.[39]

CEI rating

In an analysis of state attorneys general published in July 2010, Brown was named "The Nation's Worst Attorney General" by the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), a non-profit public policy organization dedicated to the principles of free enterprise and limited government. Basing their criteria on dubious dealings, fabricating law, usurping legislative power, and predatory practices, the California Attorney General, who at the time of the publication was a gubernatorial candidate, received a letter grade of F in all four categories. CEI accused Brown his responsibility as state attorney general to defend all state laws against constitutional challenges "by picking and choosing which laws to defend, and even seeking to undermine those he disagreed with," such as Proposition 8.[40]

Ballot titles

In October 2009, Brown was accused of re-writing the ballot title for the California Continuous Coverage Auto Insurance Discount Act (2010) in a way that is more advantageous to that initiative after receiving a $13,000 campaign contribution from Mercury Insurance, its main sponsor.[41]

Mayor of Oakland (1999-2007)

Mayor of Oakland, Jerry Brown

In early 1998, Brown announced that he was leaving the Democratic Party and changed his party registration to "Decline To State." He terminated his radio show that same year in order to run for Mayor of Oakland. He won the general election contest in June 1998 and seven months later was sworn into office. Within just a few short weeks, he drew the ire of the far left after he invited the United States Marine Corps to stage their war games, titled Urban Warrior, in the defunct Oakland Army Base and on the closed grounds of the Oak Knoll Naval Hospital after the National Park Service rejected the Marines' request to use Crissy Field in San Francisco. Also during his tenure he was able to get the approval of the electorate to convert Oakland's weak mayor political structure (the mayor as chairman of the city council and official greeter) to a strong mayor structure (the mayor as chief executive over the nonpolitical city manager and thus the various city departments and not a council member). This strong mayor structure in many ways is similar to that of the nearby city of San Francisco. Other efforts including acquiring millions of dollars in state and federal funding to open two charter schools that are now among the top-ranked in Oakland. Brown was re-elected with over 60 percent of the vote in 2002.

In 2003, Brown and fellow Democratic Mayor Jim Hahn of Los Angeles praised Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger for his decisive actions regarding the suppression of the reinstitution of portions the vehicle license fee (labeled by opponents as the car tax) and some restoration of state funding for city governments, implying that Gray Davis (who had been Governor Brown's Chief of Staff in the 1970s) had acted poorly in this regard.


Crime rate in Oakland

The murder rate in Oakland in the first two months of 2006 was triple what it was during the same time period the year before.[42] Two years later, the CQ Press annual report ranked Oakland the fifth-highest crime rate among U.S. cities in 2007.[43] These statistics have led critics to suggest that Brown had failed as mayor to make the city safer.[44]

Chairman of the California Democratic Party (1989-1991)

After briefly studying abroad, Brown returned to California and successfully ran for the chairmanship of the state's Democratic Party in 1989, defeating the less experienced Steve Westly. Although he had greatly expanded the party's donor base and enlarged its coffers during his tenure, he was criticized for not spending enough money on television advertisements, which many within the state party contributed for close Democratic losses in 1990. Brown abruptly resigned from the chairmanship in early 1991 and announced he would seek the United States Senate seat left open following the retirement of Democratic Senator Alan Cranston. In spite of consistent polls numbers, he abandoned his senatorial campaign in favor of a third attempt at the presidency.

Governor of California (1975-1983)

Brown was sworn into office as Governor of California in 1975, succeeding outgoing Republican (and future President of the United States) Ronald Reagan. Strongly opposed to the Vietnam War, Brown rode into the governorship on a broad base of young liberal support. Upon election, he refused many of the privileges and trappings of the office, forgoing the grand governor's mansion, which he sold off in 1983, and instead rented a modest apartment. Instead of riding as a passenger in chauffeured limousines as previous governors had done, Brown drove himself to work in a compact sedan - a Plymouth Satellite from the state vehicle pool.

Throughout his tenure in office, Brown expressed a strong interest in environmental issues, which were to be highlighted in the state during the course of the decade. Brown's concern for the environment could seen in his appointments to state positions that directly affected it. His selections included J. Baldwin for the then-newly created California Office of Appropriate Technology, Sim Van der Ryn as State Architect, Stewart Brand as Special Advisor, and John Bryson, the CEO of Southern California Electric Company and a founding member of the Natural Resources Defense Council, chairman of the California State Water Board in 1976.

It was also in the course of his first governorship that he dissolved the fifteen member California Arts Commission and reorganized it into the California Arts Council (CAC), boosting its state funding by as much as 1,300 percent. This became a source of contention during the state's frequent budget crises at the turn of the century, beginning in 2001 when, under Governor Grey Davis, the CAC received $30 million from state coffers.[45] Additionally, Brown, as governor, appointed the first black (Wiley Manuel), woman (Rose Bird), and Latino (Cruz Reynoso) to the California State Supreme Court.

Brown often proposed unorthodox ideas, including the establishment of a state space academy and the purchasing of a satellite that would be launched into orbit to provide emergency communications for the state—a proposal similar to one that would indeed be adopted by the state. In 1978, Chicago Tribune columnist Mike Royko nicknamed Brown "Governor Moonbeam" because of the latter idea. The nickname quickly became associated with his quirky politics, which were considered eccentric by some in California and the rest of the nation. In 1992, almost 15 years later, Royko would disavow the nickname, proclaiming Brown to be "just as serious" as any other politician. He also obtained the repeal of the depletion allowance for the state's oil industry thanks in large part to the decisive vote cast in the California State Senate by Republican Robert S. Stevens. Stevens was later rewarded with a major judicial appointment, which he had to rescind after he was accused of making salacious telephone calls as a state senator.


Proposition 13
See also: California Proposition 13 (1978)

Critics argue that Brown's administration as Governor of California bares partial responsibility for the creation of the economic conditions that prompted state voters to heavily favor the passage of Proposition 13 in 1978. Specifically, he is said to have amassed a large surplus in state coffers instead of cutting taxes, leading to the state's infamous tax rebellion, the Jarvis Gann initiative (Proposition 13) which halted increases in property taxes for both homeowners and corporations that held onto their property.[46] However, even with the passage of Proposition 13, "state spending increased by nearly 120 percent during the Brown years after" it became state law.[47]

Unsuccessful Presidential campaigns

Jerry Brown ran, unsuccessfully, three times for President of the United States - in 1976, 1980 and 1992


In the course of serving as Governor of California, Brown twice ran for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States. The first time was in 1976 when he entered the race very late in the primary season as the focus of the movement shifted to stop the nomination of former Governor of Georgia Jimmy Carter, who many within the Democratic Party felt was unelectable and lacked the record of success needed to garner popular appeal.

Brown touted his record of having supposedly curbed the state's spending and balanced its budget while expanding services in the area of welfare, employment, and consumer and environmental protection, Brown proclaimed his belief that there would soon be a voter backlash against expansive and costly government policies. "This is an era of limits, and we had all better get used to it," he declared. He won major victories in Maryland, Nevada, and his home state of California in the early primary ballot contests. He also garnered the support of a majority of delegates from Louisiana, the only Southern state in the course of the primary campaign to favor either Carter or Governor of Alabama George Wallace. And despite missing the deadline in Oregon, which resulted in him campaigning as a write-in candidate, he finished a strong third behind both Carter and Senator Frank Church of Idaho. In spite of these successes, he was unable to stall Carter's momentum, and his rival was nominated on the first ballot at the 1976 Democratic National Convention. Brown finished a distant third with roughly 300 delegate votes.


Brown ran for president a second time in 1980. Even with the high level of anticipation his candidacy amassed, particularly in light of his re-election victory in the state of California's gubernatorial contest by 1.3 million votes, the largest margin of victory for a candidate in the state's history, his presidential campaign failed to gain any traction. Many believed this was largely due to the more prominent candidacy of Senator Ted Kennedy of Massachusetts and the prestige his family name brought to the campaign.

His promise to, in his words, "Protect the Earth, serve the people, and explore the universe," served as his slogan. The three main planks of his presidential campaign platform included a call for a constitutional convention to ratify the Balanced Budget Amendment, a promise to increase federal funds for the space program, and, in the wake of the 1979 Three Mile Island accident, opposition to nuclear power. Brown also made a number of unconventional proposals as well, such as calling for a sharp increase of federal funding for solar power research, endorsing the idea of mandatory non-military national service for the nation's youth, and promising to support a market-oriented system of universal health care.

Support for his campaign among average American Democrats quickly eroded as more and more members of the what conservative commentators called "fringe," such as Jane Fonda, Tom Hayden, and Jesse Jackson, among others, joined his cause. Following his disastrous showing in the New Hampshire primary, in which he able to receive ten percent of the vote, he was forced to announce that his candidacy hinged on a good showing in the Wisconsin primary. An ill-timed attempt at filming a live, special effects-filled, thirty-minute commercial, produced and directed by Francis Ford Coppola, was a disaster and ultimately doomed his candidacy. He walked away from the campaign having received just twelve percent of the vote in the Wisconsin primary. Despite having entered the race far earlier then his original attempt at the presidential office, his second effort resulted in him having spent $2 million while winning no primaries and receiving only one delegate at the Democratic National Convention.


In the wake of his announcement declaring his candidacy for president on the steps of Independence Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, many within both the mainstream news outlets and the Democratic Party itself dismissed his campaign as nothing short of an ego-trip with little, if any, chance of gaining legit support worthy of significance in the primary contest. Ignoring his critics, Brown, correctly gauging the anti-establishment viewpoint of many voters that year, joined Pat Buchanan and Ross Perot who all enjoyed surprisingly successful presidential campaigns. He embarked on an ultra-grassroots campaign - declaring that he would only accept individual campaign contributions of $100 or less - the likes of which would not be seen within the Democratic Party until the early days of Governor of Vermont Howard Dean's ultimately unsuccessful presidential bid.

He made a number of populist-based promises in the midst of the campaign, including calls for term limits for members of Congress, living wage laws, and opposition to free-trade agreements such as NAFTA. Brown joined with economist and former Reagan adviser Arthur Laffer in drafting his tax proposal, which called for the replacement of the progressive income tax with a flat tax and a value added tax, both at a fixed rate of thirteen percent. Despite criticism from his opponents that his policy was regressive, it received the endorsement of major media outlets such as The New York Times, The New Republic, and Forbes.

Democratic Primary Results: Blue denotes a Clinton win, yellow a Brown win, green a Tsongas win, orange a Kerrey win, and purple a Harkin win

Faced with a relatively shoe-string campaign budget, Brown bucked conventional advertising practices, choosing instead to use an unusual fundraising techniques, such as a toll-free telephone number that adorned all of his campaign material, and a mixture of alternative media that included cable and radio interviews being used in lieu of traditional television commercials in order to get his message out to voters.

In spite of poor showings in the Iowa caucus, in which he received a mere 1.6 percent of the vote, and the New Hampshire primary, which secured him only eight percent, Brown was soon able to manage narrow victories in Maine, Colorado, Nevada, Alaska, and Vermont. Nonetheless, he continued to be considered a long shot for much of the campaign. It was not until shortly after Super Tuesday, when the Democratic primary field had been narrowed to Brown, former Senator Paul Tsongas of Massachusetts, and frontrunner Governor Bill Clinton, that Brown began to emerge as a serious contender in the eyes of the mainstream media.

Senator Tsongas was forced out of the race on March 17 after Brown received a strong third-place showing in the Illinois primary and then defeated the senator for second place in the Michigan primary by a significant margin. Within one week, Brown had cemented his position as a major threat to Clinton's candidacy when he eked out a narrow win the bitterly-contested Connecticut primary. This, however, was short lived after Clinton pulled out victories in both Wisconsin and New York on April 7.

Although Brown continued to campaign in a number of other states, he won no further primary contests. Despite this, he had secured a sizable number of convention delegates. A big win in his home state of California he believed would deprive Clinton of sufficient support to guarantee the nomination, which would then result in a brokered convention. After nearly a month of intense campaigning and multiple debates between the two candidates, Clinton managed to defeat Brown in this final primary by a margin of 48% to 41%. At the Democratic National Convention, Brown received the votes of 596 delegates on the first ballot, more than any other candidate save for Clinton.

California Secretary of State (1971-1975)

Los Angeles Community College Board of Trustees (1969-1971)

Throughout the late-1960s, Brown was active in both state and national politics, organizing migrant workers and anti-Vietnam War groups. In 1969, he ran for his political office position on the then-newly created Los Angeles Community College Board of Trustees, which oversaw community colleges in the city. Brown went on to place first in the field of one-hundred twenty-four candidates. The next year, he successfully campaigned to be California Secretary of State.



See also: State executive official elections, 2014

Brown ran for re-election as Governor of California in 2014. He secured one of two possible nominations in the blanket primary on June 3, 2014.[6] The general election took place November 4, 2014.

Governor of California, Blanket Primary, 2014
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Democratic Green check mark transparent.pngJerry Brown Incumbent 54.3% 2,354,769
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngNeel Kashkari 19.4% 839,767
     Republican Tim Donnelly 14.8% 643,236
     Republican Andrew Blount 2.1% 89,749
     Republican Glenn Champ 1.8% 76,066
     Green Luis Rodriguez 1.5% 66,876
     Peace and Freedom Cindy L. Sheehan 1.2% 52,707
     Republican Alma Marie Winston 1.1% 46,042
     Nonpartisan Robert Newman 1% 44,120
     Democratic Akinyemi Agbede 0.9% 37,024
     Republican Richard Aguirre 0.8% 35,125
     Nonpartisan "Bo" Bogdan Ambrozewicz 0.3% 14,929
     Nonpartisan Janel Hyeshia Buycks 0.3% 12,136
     Nonpartisan Rakesh Kumar Christian 0.3% 11,142
     Nonpartisan Joe Leicht 0.2% 9,307
Total Votes 4,332,995
Election Results California Secretary of State.

General election

Governor of California
Poll Jerry Brown * (D) Neel Kashkari (R)Undecided/OtherMargin of ErrorSample Size
New York Times/CBS News/YouGov
October 16-23
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted in this race. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to editor@ballotpedia.org.

Primary and hypothetical match-ups

Governor of California
Poll Jerry Brown* (D) Tim Donnelly (R)Neel Kashkari (R) (Not included in Poll 1 or 3)UndecidedMargin of ErrorSample Size
Public Policy Institute of California
November 12-19, 2013
The Field Poll
November 15-December 3, 2014
Public Policy Institute of California
January 14-21, 2014
Public Policy Institute of California
March 11-18, 2014
The Field Poll
March 18-April 5, 2014
Public Policy Institute of California
April 8-15, 2014
Public Policy Institute of California
May 8-16, 2014
May 16-19, 2014
USC/LA Times Poll
May 21-28, 2014
AVERAGES 50.67% 13.78% 5.33% 24.78% +/-4.23 937.22
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted in this race. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to editor@ballotpedia.org.

Note: An asterisk (*) denotes incumbent status.


See also: California gubernatorial election, 2010

Although he filed official paperwork with the Secretary of State Office in late-September 2009 to start an exploratory committee, usually the first step in launching a formal campaign, Brown had yet to make his entry into the state's 2010 gubernatorial contest official as late as February 2010. And in spite of the passage of California Proposition 140, which, among other things, imposes a lifelong ban against anyone seeking the same office once the limits have been reached, Brown's candidacy is not affected on the basis that the amendment does not apply to former governors who served prior to its passage in 1990.

Jerry Brown 2010 Campaign logo

In January 2010, Brown said that whoever is elected, they face a challenging term in office: ""The state is profoundly screwed up, and anybody who thinks they got an idea, I would say, 'Give me a call, I'd like to listen to it.' Because I can tell you we're in for blood, sweat and tears over the next four years no matter who runs."[48]

A Rasmussen poll published in mid-February 2010 showed that in a head-to-head matchup the California gubernatorial contest in November between Brown and the likely Republican nominee, former eBay CEO Meg Whitman, would be a virtual dead heat with each candidate garnering forty-three percent. The survey, however, also points out that six percent of those interviewed selected other primary candidates and eight percent were undecided, leaving plenty of opportunity for either major party candidate to take the lead.[49]

On Tuesday, March 2, 2010, Brown finally announced on his website that he was officially entering the 2010 California gubernatorial election contest.[50] Over a month later, Rasmussen, whose survey two months earlier had shown a virtual dead heat between Whitman and Brown, released polling data that placed the State Attorney General with a six-point margin of victory over his likely Republican challenger. However, nine percent of those interviewed chose a different candidate other then Brown and Whitman while another nine percent remained undecided.[51]

2010 Race for Governor - Democratic Primary[52]
Party Candidate Vote Percentage
     Democratic Party Approveda Jerry Brown 84.4%
     Democratic Party Richard William Aguirre 4.0%
     Democratic Party Charles "Chuck" Pineda, Jr. 4.0%
     Democratic Party Vibert Greene 2.3%
     Democratic Party Joe Symmon 2.3%
     Democratic Party Lowell Darling 1.6%
     Democratic Party Peter Schurman 1.4%
Total Votes 2,395,287
2010 Race for Governor - General Election
Party Candidate Vote Percentage
     Democratic Party Approveda Jerry Brown 53.4%
     Republican Party Meg Whitman 41.5%
     American Independent Party Chelene Nightengale 1.6%
     Libertarian Party Dale Ogden 1.5%
     Green Party Laura Wells 1.2%
     Peace and Freedom Party Carlos Alvarez 0.8%
Total Votes 8,085,908


In the final weeks leading up to the State Attorney General election in 2006, Brown's eligibility as a candidate was questioned by his Republican challenger, Contra Costa County Republican Central Committee chairman and state GOP vice-chair candidate Tom Del Beccaro. Citing California Government Code §12503, which states that "no person shall be eligible to the office of Attorney General unless he shall have been admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of the state for a period of at least five years immediately preceding his election or appointment to such office," Republican plaintiffs in the case argued that Brown did not meet these basic requirements.[53] Since passing the bar exam in June 1965, "Brown on several occasions over the past four decades failed to renew his membership and was rendered inactive," renewing it just three years prior to entering the state attorney general contest.[54] The case was eventually thrown out after the court acknowledged that although he was ineligible to practice law because of his voluntary 'inactive status' in the State Bar of California from January 1, 1997 to May 1, 2003, he was nevertheless still "admitted to practice."[55]

2006 Race for Attorney General - Democratic Primary[32]
Party Candidate Vote Percentage
     Democratic Party Approveda Jerry Brown 63.3%
     Democratic Party Rocky Delgadillo 36.7%
Total Votes 2,456,498
2006 Race for Attorney General - General Election[33]
Party Candidate Vote Percentage
     Democratic Party Approveda Jerry Brown 56.3%
     Republican Party Chuck Poochigian 38.2%
     Green Party Michael S. Wyman 2.3%
     Libertarian Party Kenneth A. Weissman 2.1%
     Peace and Freedom Party Jack Harrison 1.1%
Total Votes 8,450,009

Campaign donors

Comprehensive donor information for Brown is available dating back to 2006. Based on available campaign finance records, Brown raised a total of $60,322,312 during that time period. This information was last updated on July 8, 2013.[56]

Jerry Brown's Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2012 Governor of California Not up for election $7,149,934
2010 Governor of California Won $40,568,641
2008 Attorney General of California Not up for election $4,335,680
2006 Attorney General of California Won $8,268,057
Grand Total Raised $60,322,312

2006 and 2010

Ballotpedia collects information on campaign donors for each year in which a candidate or incumbent is running for election. The following table offers a breakdown of Jerry Brown's donors each year.[57] Click [show] for more information.


Brown currently resides near downtown Oakland, at the former Sears Roebuck Building, with his wife, Anne Gust, former chief counsel for Gap Inc.

Recent news

This section displays the most recent stories in a google news search for the term "Jerry + Brown + Governor + California"

All stories may not be relevant to this individual due to the nature of the search engine.

Jerry Brown News Feed

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See also

External links

Suggest a link


  1. 1.0 1.1 The Sacramento Bee, "Gov. Jerry Brown to become the longest serving governor in California history," October 5, 2013
  2. Project VoteSmart, "Bio of Jerry Brown," accessed June 23, 2011
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Mercury News, "Brown signs bills at higher rate than predecessors," October 2, 2012
  4. Project VoteSmart, "Bio of Jerry Brown," accessed June 23, 2011
  5. Project VoteSmart, "Bio of Jerry Brown," accessed June 23, 2011
  6. 6.0 6.1 California Secretary of State, "Campaign Finance:Statement of Intention," accessed November 27, 2012
  7. The Business Journals, "Governors and jobs: How governors rank for job creation in their states," June 27, 2013
  8. The Business Journals, "How state governors rank on their job-growth record," June 27, 2013
  9. California's Governor's Budget 2013-14 Proposed Budget Summary, "K thru 12 Education," p. 23, accessed March 11, 2013
  10. California Legislative Analyst's Office, "The 2013-14 Budget: Overview of the Governor’s Budget," February 22, 2013, p. 9
  11. California Legislative Analyst's Office, "Restructuring California’s Adult Education System," December 5, 2012, p. 24
  12. California Council for Adult Education, "Legislative Talking Points," accessed March 11, 2013
  13. Office of the Governor of California, "Press Releases: Governor Brown Issues Legislative Update," September 25, 2012
  14. The Daily Democrat, "New name's a game changer for state agency," October 3, 2012
  15. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named fish
  16. The American Spectator, "ACORN's Moonbeam" 19 Nov. 2009
  17. ACORN "Attorneys General Take Action: Real Leadership in Fighting Foreclosures" June 2008
  18. Majority in Mississippi, "Jim Hood Received An “A” From ACORN In 2008" 17 Sept. 2009
  19. Citizen Media Law Project - California Recording Law
  20. Big Government, "Exclusive: Audio From ACORN Claims Jerry Brown Will Whitewash Investigation" 10 Nov. 2009
  21. Maggie's Notebook, "Jerry Brown ACORN: Jerry Brown David Lagstein ACORN Organizer: AG Jerry Brown Find Fault with Videographers?" 10 Nov. 2009
  22. San Francisco Chronicle, "Jerry Brown Dines With Castro" 29 July, 2000
  23. 23.0 23.1 The Daily Beast, "Jerry Brown's Castro Trouble" 5 Oct. 2010
  24. San Francisco Chronicle, "Jerry Brown Broke the Law on Visit with Fidel" 5 Oct. 2010
  25. Washington Post, "Philip Agee, 72; Agent Who Turned Against CIA" 10 Jan. 2008
  26. The Guardian, "The spy who stayed out in the cold" 10 Jan. 2007
  27. CNN "Former CIA agent attempts to draw U.S. tourists to Cuba over Internet" 25 June, 2000
  28. U.S Treasury, Office of Foreign Asset Control, "An Overview of the Cuban Assets Control Regulations" last updated September 3, 2009, accessed October 6, 2010
  29. Los Angeles Times, "An associate of Jerry Brown calls Meg Whitman a "whore" over pension reform (AUDIO)" 7 Oct. 2010
  30. Real Clear Politics, "Jerry Brown Agrees Whitman A "Whore" Over Pension Battle?" 7 Oct. 2010
  31. FOX News, "Recording Captures Brown Camp Calling Whitman a 'Whore'" 8 Oct. 2010
  32. 32.0 32.1 CA Secretary of State: Vote 2006 - Primary Election Results
  33. 33.0 33.1 CA Secretary of State: Vote 2006 - General Election Results
  34. CalWatchDog, "Bell tolls for greedy officials" 26 July, 2010
  35. The Orange County Register, "Attorney general, CalPERS to probe public salaries, pensions" 23 July, 2010
  36. The Orange County Register, "The mystery of Jerry Brown’s pension" 13 Aug. 2010
  37. Los Angeles Times, "AG Jerry Brown, Proposition 8 defender. now seeks ban on same same-sex marriage ban" 19 Dec. 2008
  38. Time Magazine, "Jerry Brown Reverses Course on Gay Marriage" 23 Dec. 2008
  39. Los Angeles Times, "Jerry Brown again says Proposition 8 should be struck down" 13 June, 2009
  40. Competitive Enterprise Institute, "Issue Analysis: The Nation’s Top Ten Worst State Attorneys General" 12 July, 2010
  41. San Francisco Chronicle, "Jerry Brown accused of caving in to donor" 29 Oct. 2009
  42. ABC7 (KGO-TV) "Oakland's Murder Rate Is Soaring" 11 July, 2006
  43. Free Republic, "Survey: Oakland has fifth-highest crime rate in country" 25 Nov. 2008
  44. San Francisco Chronicle, "Killings take big toll on Oakland" 25 Nov. 2002
  45. Los Angeles Times, "California is last in arts funding — as usual" 12 Feb. 2009
  46. YouTube, "Enough is Enough!" 5 April, 2010
  47. Fact Check, "Jerry Brown: ‘A Legacy of Failure?’" 1 July, 2010
  48. Sacramento Bee, "Jerry Brown takes off gloves, dings Gavin Newsom" 28 Jan. 2010
  49. Rasmussen Reports, "California Governor: Brown 43%, Whitman 43%" 16 Feb. 2010
  50. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named jb4g
  51. Rasmussen Reports, "California Governor: Brown 44%, Whitman 38%" 21 April, 2010
  52. California Secretary of State - 2010 Statewide Primary Election Results
  53. Law and Legal Research - California Government Code Section 12503
  54. Los Angeles Times, "Suit Challenges Brown's Eligibility for Top Law Job" 20 Oct. 2006
  55. Metropolitan News-Enterprise, "Editorial: GOP Volunteers Disgrace Party by Opposition to Kennard, Suit Against Brown" 23 Oct. 2006
  56. Follow the Money, "Career fundraising for Jerry Brown," accessed July 8, 2013
  57. Follow the Money.org, "Home," accessed February 17, 2015
Political offices
Preceded by
H.P. Sullivan
California Secretary of State
Succeeded by
March Fong Eu
Preceded by
Ronald Reagan
Governor of California
Succeeded by
George Deukmejian
Preceded by
Elihu Harris
Mayor of Oakland, California
Succeeded by
Ronald V. Dellums
Preceded by
Bill Lockyer
California Attorney General
Succeeded by
Kamala Harris (D)
Preceded by
Arnold Schwarzenegger (R)
Governor of California
Succeeded by