November 3rd, 2010
03:32 PM ET

How Jerry Brown got back in the governor's saddle

Jerry Brown is ... the most interesting comeback politician ... in the world.

He is, at least, the most unconventional of the 2010 midterm election.  Brown, who is the state's attorney general, defied the odds on Tuesday and took back the governor's seat that he held from 1975 to 1983. 

"As you know, I've got the know-how and the experience," he told a cheering crowd in Oakland.

"Jerry Brown came across as elder statesman; there was nothing flashy about Jerry," L.A. Times columnist Gregory Rodriguez told CNN.com. "He kept saying, 'I'm old enough. I'm ready to do this.' The Jerry Brown of the 1970s would not have been elected today. We had a movie star [in Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger], now we want someone serious, we want a grandpa."

The 72-year-old's quirky, man-of-the-people approach once earned him the nickname "Governor Moonbeam." This time around, Brown constantly reminded voters that he is the son of Pat Brown, considered one of the greatest leaders the state has ever had. 

But that doesn't preclude Brown' s campaign from having a few laughs. Take a look at this Dos Equis-inspired campaign ad , sponsored by the California Democratic Party, that began airing just days before the election.

A voice similar to the one in the beer commercials shows old footage of Brown: "He tended to the poor with Mother Teresa/He marched in the fields with Cesar Chavez/He served two terms as governor - just for practice. He's Jerry Brown. And there are some things you might not know about him."

One message that everyone definitely knows Wednesday is that money cannot guarantee an election win. Brown's  opponent, former eBay CEO Meg Whitman, shattered records by spending $140 million of her own money on her campaign. She bought an entire TV channel for the weekend at the GOP state convention's host hotel in March, according to the L.A. Times.

Rodriguez said it was unlikely that Whitman's big spending did her in. 

"It was really the business with the housekeeper that hurt her," the columnist said, referring to a Mexican maid who worked for Whitman. The maid was in the U.S. illegally, which Whitman said she didn't know. The maid tearfully told reporters that Whitman had fired her when the housekeeper revealed her immigration status.

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Filed under: California • Jerry Brown • Meg Whitman • Politics
soundoff (236 Responses)
  1. Viper1j

    Is it me? Or does Moonbeam look like Peter Boyle from Young Frankenstein?

    November 4, 2010 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Bill Hicks

    Note to HernandezUSA: Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha-Ha!!!!!!!

    November 3, 2010 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  3. kthr

    Can't believe they voted this buffoon in .

    November 3, 2010 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  4. bailoutsos

    Okay, start the recall process..

    November 3, 2010 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  5. GaryB

    Actually, Oakland was in far worse shape before Brown took office. Most people also forget that the last time Brown was CA governor he was a fiscal conservative who managed to balance the budget even though Prop 13 was passed during his second term, significantly reducing a major source of state revenue. Laugh at his personal style all you want, but when it comes to cutting costs, most "conservatives" are all talk, while Brown has actual street cred.

    November 3, 2010 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  6. MS

    Yes California is controlled by illegals and liberals who vote twice. Also 9/11 was an inside job and JFK was killed by the CIA.

    Crazy crackpot conspiracy theorist.

    November 3, 2010 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Sean

    Why are we bashing California? I know they have a budget deficit, they have the largest number of illegals.... but they're also one of the most creative states in the Union.... without a liberal base, creativity is hard to come by. They don't follow, they create. The culture in California is very different, their openness and willingness to take chance create more chances. California will create the next industry that fuels the growth of the US economy.... they have silicon valley that the entire nation duplicates. The green industry will be created by California, and they will take leadership of green industry. Maybe budget deficit is bad, didn't the oil producing and pro-business Texas in 10 billion hole right now? Every state will suffer in this bad economy. And the 10 billion hole in Texas isn't caused by any property foreclosure.... imagine if it has those problems... Texas will be worst shape. And remember oil prices ain't coming down yet... what if oil prices collapsed? It's not how.... it's just when.... my story will not end.... open up your mind.... and an open mind is what creates new industry.... think like a Californian...

    November 3, 2010 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  8. cmxsmitty

    Illegals can't vote.

    November 3, 2010 at 6:27 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Nancy

    It's GOOD news! Now, with Brown, Boxer (both of whom are totally owned by the Unions!) & elimination of the 2/3rds. requirement to pass a budget, not to mention failure of Prop.23, it shouldn't take too long before the State goes into Receivership!! Good news also for NEV/AZ/NM/ORE, etc. as the few remaining businesses pack up & head on out!
    Hey Voters, can you say; "BELL"?

    November 3, 2010 at 6:33 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  10. bailoutsos

    Where the heck is Linda?

    November 3, 2010 at 6:36 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  11. bailoutsos

    cmxsmitty Illegals can't vote. @@@ It's a shame HernandezUSA did not know that.

    November 3, 2010 at 6:38 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Carl

    Maybe you should ask Meg Whitman how many times her illegal maid voted.

    November 3, 2010 at 6:40 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  13. W.N. Sanabria

    Oakland was a basket case long before Brown became its mayor. Many of us admire him for taking on such an impossible challenge, and understand that it will take years of good leadership both at the city and state level to rescue that city. What he brings to the governor's office now is the support of his party and the ability to negotiate with the other. Arnold tried, but he was ineffective because the Republicans did not accept him as one of them and he offended the Democrats by calling them girlymen. In the end he was a miserable failure. He inherited an $8B deficit and left with a $20B one.

    November 3, 2010 at 6:41 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Skiking226

    Hey Bill, your an idiot, I was a kid in the 70's and Brown was the worst ever.

    November 3, 2010 at 6:51 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Mr Corey

    Funny thing , Hernandez do you seriously think illegals can vote ? Why would they want to draw the ire of the local law ? Strange all the illegals i know work degrading manual labor jobs that Americans turn their noise's up to , i know because i refuse to work at a chicken processing plant or wash dishs . When illegals start becoming lawyers and doctors and CEO's then we should be concerned unless however you plan on making a living mowing lawns or day working .

    November 3, 2010 at 6:52 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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