PolitiCal Flashback: Most expensive governor’s race in state history ends with a flurry of campaigning

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With the California governor’s race in its final hours, PolitiCal will look back throughout the day at some of the key moments in this year’s historic contest.

After more than a year of politicking, with nearly $250 million spent, the race to replace Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger ended with the two major-party candidates barnstorming the state and rallying their troops.


Jerry Brown embarked on a marathon 12-city, three-day tour of California that stretched from Eureka to San Diego. Whitman criss-crossed the state herself, touring the state by bus and plane, meeting small groups of voters and attending large political rallies.

Michael J. Mishak was with Brown on his final tour of California:

Jerry Brown smiled. The Democratic gubernatorial nominee was halfway through his stump speech Monday morning in San Diego when the crowd in the courtyard of Café Coyote started chanting his name: “Jerry! Jerry! Jerry!” It was the 10th campaign stop in three days, and with three more rallies to go, Brown basked in the support. “I wish when things got tough I could just invoke that name and something would happen,” he said, to laughter. “Unfortunately, that only works in campaigns. When it gets to government, it’s a little more trench warfare through the ideological minefields and small-mindedness of people openly committed to their inadequate ideas.”

On Halloween, Whitman was in Burbank speaking to an enthusiastic crowd, insisting she was still locked in a close race. Seema Mehta covered the event:

“You know what? Our internal polls and some public polls now show this to be a dead heat. And if we go into Nov. 2 in a dead heat, what happens? We win!” The results are in her supporters’ hands, she said, urging them to make sure their friends and relatives cast ballots Tuesday. “This is a very important election. It is a battle for the soul of California,” she said. “You can start to feel the enthusiasm.” Whitman reiterated her three priorities -- that she would reduce wasteful government spending, spur the economy and fix public schools. She said Brown was planning to raise taxes, basing her remark on comments by former Gov. Gray Davis that the next governor would be forced to ask voters to renew temporary tax hikes they approved last year to help balance the budget. Davis “said Jerry Brown has no new ideas to fix this budget, he is going to put a tax increase on the ballot,” Whitman said. “Talk about March madness. Who wants to raise taxes during a recession? You won’t see that in a Whitman administration.”

The campaign ended with Brown back in his hometown of Oakland, feeling the love from the crowd.

“This is the end of the campaign. This is a rally. This is not an academic lecture,” Brown said. “If you want my plans, go to my web page. ... Whitman’s plan is mostly pictures. See, I have more respect for you. I treat you like a grownup. You can read without pictures.” The crowd applauded. One woman shouted, “I love you!” “Well, I love you too. I don’t know who you are, but if you love me then I love you,” Brown responded. “That’s the way this thing’s gonna work going forward. We all love each other. In fact, given all the hostility and anger and bitterness, we need a little love up there in Sacramento.”


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-- Anthony York