It’s Brown over Whitman – with a shaky future in a once-Golden State fraught with challenges

By: Gus Thomson, Journal staff writer
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California voters returned Democrat Jerry Brown on today to the office he held 28 years ago. Now the 72-year-old Comeback Kid just has to right a state fraught with economic crises, high unemployment and political stalemates. Brown defeated Republican Meg Whitman, a billionaire former chief executive of eBay who spent $142 million of her personal fortune on her campaign. Now he has to lead a state through an atmosphere filled with mistrust of politicians and the smoke clearing from a campaign filled with attack ads that left both candidates reeling. Auburn’s Madonna Anglin said she’s one of the “decline-to-state” voters who may have provided Brown with the winning edge. But Anglin said she’s no Brown supporter. “It’s not so much ‘Pro-Jerry,’” Anglin said. “I ended up voting for Brown because Whitman didn’t vote until she was 46 and the revelations that emerged during the campaign about her treatment of her housekeeper. She said she was like family and did nothing to help her." No tea party tsunami reached the governor’s race and Ginny Rapini, Norcal Tea Party Patriot coordinator, said it’s probably because neither candidate really fit the organization’s mold. Whitman may have had her financial philosophy aligned with the tea party’s but fell down when it came to her opposition to Prop. 23, Rapini said. “She’s a Schwarzenegger not a conservative,” Rapini said. Brown is so far off the tea party map that he should actually help the movement, she said. “Brown sold out the state once and we don’t need him again,” Rapini said. “But Obama brought this country to its knees and that awakened a sleeping giant. Brown will awaken it more in California.” Brown, the son of a former two-term governor, has spent a lifetime in and out of politics that began when he was seated on the Los Angeles Community College Board of Trustees in 1969. Brown was California’s 34th governor during his previous tenure from 1975 to 1983, and now becomes its 39th. Auburn’s Laura Moskwa said she didn’t vote for Brown because he had already had his chance to help California succeed and apparently failed. “It’s a shame (that Brown won),” Moskwa said. “He’s a guy who has been in politics forever. We just need new blood and it would have been good to have had someone as governor who wasn’t a politician.” Brown’s win over Whitman in a governor’s race that set a campaign spending record came in a year when Republicans appeared to have the edge and were expected to win a majority of governor’s seats across the country. The Associated Press contributed to this report.