Jerry Brown set to be next Calif. governor

November 3, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Californians have spoken. A majority of voters rejected first-time Republican candidate Meg Whitman and chose veteran Democrat Jerry Brown to be the state's next governor.With 100 percent of precincts reporting, the former governor and current state attorney general has 53 percent of the vote to Whitman's 41 percent.

Less than 24 hours after a stunning victory that returns Jerry Brown to the office he held a generation ago, the Democrat is ready to get down to business. He's already reached out to legislative leaders at the Capitol.

Brown spoke in Oakland Wednesday morning and said he is ready to deal with the state's budget deficit.

"I approach the job with enthusiasm, with optimism and with all the energy and creativity I can bring to bear on a very broken process," said Brown Wednesday.

Brown served as California governor from 1975 to 1983. Brown, 72, was the youngest governor in California state history at age 36, and will now be the oldest governor in the state's history.

He was known for his frugality, living in a bachelor pad instead of the governor's mansion, and ditching the limousine in favor of his Plymouth.

Young Brown was also a jet-setter, dating singer Linda Rondstadt and making the cover of Newsweek with her.

Now, at 72 years old, he's married, with less hair, but still pinching pennies.

"I meant what I said. I said: 'If you want frugality, I'm your man,'" said Brown.

Brown says he also heard what voters said this election in turning down an additional $18 vehicle-registration fee to save state parks -- that no one wants new taxes.

"I would say the electorate is in no mood to add to their burdens," said Brown.

Whitman's campaign, watching returns from their election night headquarters in Universal City, was disappointed by the numbers. The former Ebay executive spent $160 million on her campaign, $142 million of it her own money. Despite the loss, Whitman said she's proud of what she's accomplished.

"We've come up a little short, but certainly not for lack of hard work, determination and a clear vision for making our state better," said Whitman.

"It is time now for Californians to unite behind the common cause of turning around this state that we love," said Whitman.

Not all voters were celebrating Brown's victory Wednesday morning.

"I voted for Meg Whitman, but you know, if someone gets in there and does a better job and get some of the clutter out, then I'm all for it," said Lancaster resident Jeff Emenheiser.

"I've seen what Jerry Brown could do in the past, so I would've preferred to see what Meg Whitman could do," said another voter.

Voters may be at odds over who came out victorious, but one thing is for sure: they're happy to see the midterm elections come to a close.

"I'm pretty much sick and tired of it. This year I got more phone calls on my phone, just the automatic dialing. It was frustrating. There was a lot of mudslinging and stuff. You know, we just need to get down to the basics -- what's really going on and how we can take care of it," said Emenheiser.

Brown will be sworn in as governor Jan. 3. His first order of business will be to put out a new state budget a week later.


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