It’s a question that Gov. Jerry Brown faces more and more as next week’s election draws near: Why hasn’t he bothered to campaign for reelection?
“I’ve been in more elections than you can remember, and I’ve probably given more speeches and authorized more ads than any other candidate in the history of California,” Brown said Tuesday morning at a high school in Los Feliz. “I doubt whether there’s ever been a time when the voters have had so much information.”
FOR THE RECORD, Oct. 28, 2014, 9:07 p.m.: A previous version of this post said incorrectly that state Senate candidate Jose Solorio was with Gov. Jerry Brown at Alberto’s Mexican Food.
The occasion was an event to highlight $1.8 million in planned upgrades in the electricity and air systems at John Marshall High School, thanks to state grants approved by voters in a 2012 ballot measure, Proposition 39.
It was the first of three events in one day in Southern California, a dramatic shift just before election day for a Democratic incumbent who has been mostly absent from the stump. Brown largely spent the day focused on his priorities for the November election -- the water-bond measure and the rainy-day fund known as Propositions 1 and 2, respectively.
But as he seeks an unprecedented fourth term, he repeatedly reminisced about his decades in power.
While campaigning for state Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi at his Torrance headquarters, Brown asked how much time the Democrat had spent in the Legislature (one term) before noting the value of experience.
“Hey, I can tell you this – I’ve served three terms, so I know something about terms,” Brown said to scores of cheering Democrats crammed in a stuffy strip-mall store front, standing alongside Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins (D-San Diego).
“I know a lot more now than I did when I started, and he is going to be much more effective than anyone else who never had that experience. So that’s important,” he continued. “Sometimes you get too much experience, you take things for granted and some people get a little comfortable with the status quo. But don’t worry, that’s not going to happen with the speaker and all the characters we have in Sacramento,” Brown said. “We’ll keep him on his toes for you, fighting for Orange County.”
Muratsuchi’s South Bay district is in Los Angeles County. And Brown repeatedly mispronounced the candidate’s name, at one point prompting Muratsuchi to laughingly tell the governor: “Call me Al.”
Brown concluded his five minutes of remarks with a pitch for the two propositions that he and the Legislature put on next week’s ballot: Proposition 1, a bond measure for upgrading California’s water system, and Proposition 2, which would bolster the state’s rainy-day reserves.
“Save water, save money,” Brown said. “Yes on 1, yes on 2, save California.”
After grabbing a bean, cheese and rice burrito and a horchata at Alberto’s Mexican Food, the governor attended a bipartisan gathering at the Groundwater Replenishment System, which turns sewage into tap water, in Fountain Valley. The effort, and similar attempts elsewhere in the state, stand to benefit if the $7.5-billion water bond is approved.
As the crowd gave him a standing ovation as he came to the podium, Brown said, “Never have I seen so many Republicans stand when I begin to speak.”
Brown then turned to a casually dressed Rep. Dana Rohrabacher. “Now, I knew Mr. Rohrabacher before he became famous. Forty-five years?”
The conservative firebrand from Huntington Beach replied: “When you had hair.”
Brown countered, “When I had hair, Methuselah was walking the streets,” referring to the longest-living person in the Old Testament.
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