The moment one election ends, all politicians’ thoughts naturally turn to the next one. And California’s 2014 run for governor – which has already informally begun – could be one completely unique.
There’s the good chance current Gov. Jerry Brown will try for a second term in his second coming – a fourth overall, which would tie him with Earl Warren for the most often-elected governor in this state’s history.
If the 74-year-old Brown opts to slip quietly into retirement – not the sort of thing that’s in his nature – Democratic Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom stands panting in the wings, ready to jump in. No doubt, Brown will tantalize Newsom, the two-term San Francisco mayor and son of a close associate of Brown’s father, as long as he can, keeping him dangling in the wind as a sort of payback for an abortive 2010 primary election run in which Newsom sometimes suggested Brown was a has-been.
Of course, if Brown leaves, there could be plenty of Democratic primary competition for Newsom, starting with Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Attorney General Kamala Harris and perhaps including state Controller John Chiang, who has developed a reputation as a rare sort of political straight-shooter and a responsible fiscal steward not afraid of challenging even his own party mates in the Legislature...