Jerry Brown, the Democratic nominee for Governor of California and an almost unbelievably long-term fixture in the state’s political scene, has told nervous supporters for weeks now that when the time comes, he’ll roll out his full-scale plan to battle Republican nominee/billionaire Meg Whitman. Today, it seems, was the day he was waiting for.
Brown launched his first TV ad of the contest, a feel-good spot that hearkens back to Brown’s term as governor in the 1970s and early ’80s. Brown has said that even the insider-weary electorate of 2010 will want to return California’s top job to someone with (more than a little) experience after ultimate outsider Arnold Schwarzenegger’s term at the helm.
Polls have not borne that theory out so far, though. Whitman, running basically alone on TV until now, has steadily built momentum through the summer and is now running neck-and-neck with her Democratic opponent. The TPM Poll Average for the race shows Whitman ahead 44.8-43.8.
But to hear Brown tell it, he’s just putting his strategy into play now. And the new TV ad premiering today, his campaign says, is the first step on the road to Brown’s triumphant return to the governor’s office he left in 1983.
Brown seems to be taking some of the poll numbers to heart. Whitman’s campaign and its allies have painted Brown as the stereotypical tax-and-spend liberal you’d expect a Republican to see when she imagines a Democratic California governor. In the ad, Brown launches what looks to be a direct defense of that image, promising “no new taxes without voter approval” and warning Californians that “we have to live within our means.”