Gov. Jerry Brown’s first campaign ads to hit airwaves

Gov. Jerry Brown is promoting the $7.5-billion water bond measure and the state rainy-day fund on the November. ballot.
Gov. Jerry Brown is promoting the $7.5-billion water bond measure and the state rainy-day fund on the November. ballot.
(Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times)

Gov. Jerry Brown will hit the airwaves Wednesday morning with three TV ads, but instead of promoting his reelection bid for a historic fourth term, he will plug the $7.5-billion water bond measure and the state rainy-day fund on the November ballot.

The 30-second ads focus on the two ballot measures, Propositions 1 and 2 respectively, with the governor urging voters to stabilize the state’s future by supporting them.

“I’ve been around long enough to know the pendulum always swings in California, between wet years and drought, between booms and busts,” says Brown, speaking directly into the camera in a sunlit room, interspersed with shots of parched farmland, shrunken bodies of water and other images of the state.


“And when it’s bad, people get hurt,” he continues. “Not enough water to grow crops. Deep cuts in vital services. Propositions 1 and 2 will even out the boom and the bust.”

That ad, along with another one in which Brown discusses the effects of the drought, are funded by Brown’s reelection account. The tag line: “Save water. Save money.”

A third ad, featuring a firefighter talking about the devastating impact of droughts and state funding cuts during times of budgetary uncertainty, is paid for by a separate fund Brown has formed to push for the bonds.

The ads come out less than four weeks from election day, as voters are beginning to receive mail ballots. Brown has made clear that his top priority in November is the passage of the two measures.

The incumbent, completing his third term as governor, does not mention his reelection bid in the ads.

The timing of the general election campaign’s first ads – far later than advertising typically begins – and their focus reflect the ease with which Brown is expected to defeat his Republican rival, Neel Kashkari, who trails in opinion polls by roughly 20 points.

Fundraising reports filed with the state this week showed the governor had $23 million in his candidacy account and more than $6 million to pay for his campaign for the two ballot measures. First-time candidate Kashkari reported just under $680,000 in the bank, and nearly $143,000 in debt.

Without enough money for sustained statewide advertising and no air time booked, Kashkari on Tuesday announced the winners of a scholarship contest he launched for college students willing to create online ads on his behalf.

Three winners were selected from “more than 10” submissions, the candidate’s campaign said.