Jerry Brown (Democrat) defeated Meg Whitman (Republican) in the closely contested 2010 gubernatorial elections in California to replace incumbent two-term governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. This article presents an unbiased comparison of both candidates and their positions on social, economic and political issues.
|Jerry Brown||Meg Whitman|
|Proposition 26||NO POSITION||Support|
|Proposition 27||NO POSITION||Oppose|
|Residence||Oakland, California||Atherton, California, U.S.|
|Alma mater||University of California, Berkeley, Yale Law School||Princeton University (economics, 1977), Harvard Business School (MBA, 1979)|
|Birth name||Edmund Gerald Brown, Jr.||Margaret Cushing Whitman|
|Occupation||Attorney and politician||Former President and CEO of eBay|
|Born||April 7, 1938 (1938-04-07) (age 72), San Francisco, United States||August 4, 1956 (1956-08-04) (age 54), Cold Spring Harbor (Long Island) New York, U.S.|
|Political party||Democratic Party||Republican|
|Spouse(s)||Anne Gust||Griffith Rutherford Harsh IV, neurosurgeon|
|Proposition 20||NO POSITION||Support|
|Proposition 21||NO POSITION||Oppose|
|Proposition 22||NO POSITION||Support|
|Proposition 24||NO POSITION||Oppose|
Early Life and Political Background
Jerry Brown has had an extensive political career; he was California Secretary of State (1971–1975), Governor of California (1975–1983), chair of the California Democratic Party (1989–1991), the Mayor of Oakland (1998–2006), and the Attorney General of California (2007–present). He ran for president in 1976, 1980, and 1992, but was unsuccessful in securing the Democratic party nomination. Since Brown's first two terms as Governor of California were before 1990 (when term limits came into effect), he is not barred from running for Governor again.
Meg Whitman does not have a background in politics. She is best known for being the CEO of eBay from 1998 to 2008. A graduate of Princeton University and Harvard Business School, Whitman has served as an executive at Procter & Gamble, The Walt Disney Company and DreamWorks. She is a billionaire and the fourth wealthiest woman in California according to Forbes.
Economic Policy and Job Creation
With the state of California facing a severe budget deficit, voters are concerned about economic policy.
Jerry Brown's plan
Brown's economic proposals as outlined in his "jobs plan" include:
- Build 12,000 megawatts of Localized Electricity Generation and 8,000 Megawatts of Large Scale Renewables and Necessary Transmission Lines
- Focus on energy efficiency
- Use existing state funds and bond authority to maximize job creation in areas such as transportation, construction of education facilities, water infrastructure and clean energy.
- Create a "strike team" to coordinate worker-training programs and tax incentives to companies.
Meg Whitman's plan
Whitman's proposals for job creation include:
- Eliminate the $800 fee that new businesses are required to pay in California.
- Eliminate tax on factory equipment and provide an accelerated depreciation schedule for new business equipment
- Increase R&D tax credit from 15% to 20%
- Eliminate state tax on capital gains
- Provide a $10,000 credit for home purchases
When the question of California's "pension problem", i.e. the cost of paying out pensions spiraling out of control, was posed to both candidates during the debate, Jerry Brown:
- talked about a "two-tier system" he had proposed in 1982 in which future employees get lower retirement benefits and current employees contribute more towards their retirement funds.
- proposed measures such as negotiating with state employees to raise retirement age, get them to contribute more towards retirement, and to do something about the way some employees "spike" their last year's earnings, which are then used as a base to calculate their pension.
Whitman pointed out that it's difficult to negotiate with public employee unions if they are funding your campaign (a barb at Jerry Brown). She went on to outline her proposals, which sounded similar to Brown's proposals:
- Raise retirement age from 55 to 65
- increase vesting periods
- raise the contribution employees make to their pension fund
- new employees are offered a "different deal" (a 401(k)-style retirement fund program)
Stand on Regulation
Rhetoric from both candidates suggests they want to cut regulation in an effort to spur employment. Brown's proposals to cut regulation include:
- Make CEC (California Energy Commission) and ISO (Independent System Operator) "work in tandem" to "end delays" in renewable energy projects.
- Use the Office of Administrative Law to review regulations so that they "do not go beyond what is reasonable"
- "Serious review" of the state's current use of technology.
Whitman's proposals are more specific:
- 90-day moratorium on all new state regulations (except those concerning public health and safety) to assess economic impact.
- One stop pathway for business licensing via a website and common application form.
- Executive order to require government agencies to review their jurisdictional authority and report overlaps.
- One year moratorium on specific AB32 regulations (California's global warming bill). Prominent VC Vinod Khosla and Google's Green Energy Czar Bill Weihl are against this proposal.
- Start counting overtime after 40 hours a week rather than 8 hours a day so that flexible schedules can be provided (four 10-hour days rather than five 8-hour days).
- Extend California's $250,000 cap on punitive damages for medical liability lawsuits to other tort cases involving product liability.
Both candidates have proposals outlining their education policy.
Jerry Brown's education plan includes the following proposals:
- The introduction of online learning and the use of new technologies "should be explored to the fullest"
- Closely align transfer courses between CSU and UC systems so students don't have to take redundant courses.
- Improve the state's testing program by
- reducing the scope and duration of tests
- declaring results faster
- supplement tests with "assessments" throughout the school year
- Change school funding formulas: Replace the current process which has 62 categories for funding, with a pupil-weighted formula based on specific needs of the students in the school district. The number of categories should be reduced to less than 20.
- Work with teacher training institutions and state agencies to recruit more teachers from the top third of our high school graduates.
Whitman's proposals include:
- In order to direct more money to the classroom, collapse the states grants if 50 categories into "simplified grants" for "special education".
- Send money directly to school districts in the form of a uniform block grant to be used by the local administrators as they see fit.
- Special bonuses to high-achieving teachers.
- Eliminate the cap on charter schools.
- Institute a system that grades public schools A-F and posts these grades online
- Invest $1 billion in the University of California and California State University systems.
Position on Healthcare Reform
Brown supported a single-payer health care system when he was running for president in the 80s and 1992, but has said he would be hesitant to create a government-run health care system in the state. Instead, he suggested Congress should pass President Obama's plan for expanded health care at the national level.
Meg Whitman proposed that California should move to block the newly signed national healthcare plan because it would deepen the state's budget deficit.
Position on Same-Sex Marriages
Proposition 8, which was approved by voters in California, denies gay and lesbians couples the right to get married. Jerry Brown opposes Proposition 8 and as Attorney General, he refused to defend it when it was challenged in court.
Meg Whitman supports Proposition 8. However, she supports civil unions and believes that gay marriages that took place before Prop. 8 was passed should be recognized and that gay couples should be allowed to adopt children.
Position on Abortion
Whitman voted in favor of California Proposition 4, an initiative that requires minors to notify a parent prior to undergoing an abortion, except in certain cases. Whitman supports abortion rights, but not late-term abortion.
Jerry Brown has come out strongly in support of women's abortion rights, saying he planned on pushing budget reforms to aid access for low-income women if elected governor in November.
Position on Gun control
Brown is of the opinion that possessing guns is a constitutional right and that Californians shouldn't have to give it up. Meg Whitman, who doesn't own a gun, supports the Second Amendment but maintains that a ban on assault weapons and handgun restrictions are in the best interest of the state.
Election Campaign Highlights
Whitman has been spotted at 10 public events since the primaries as opposed to 26 by Jerry Brown. However, it is speculated that Whitman will be very dominant on the airwaves until fall when Brown proposes to launch his campaign targeting her ethics with a $23 million backup that is being saved for the purpose.
Meg Whitman continues to pump in money for the election and has mentioned that she would put in a total $150 million of her own money into campaigns and other promotional ventures.
Here are videos from the first televised debate between Whitman and Brown at UC Davis:
Whitman vs Brown Opinion Polls
The Brown vs Whitman race is one of the most closely contested elections in 2010.
|Poll source||Date(s) administered||Jerry Brown (D)||Meg Whitman (R)|
|FOX News/POR-Rasmussen||October 16, 2010||48%||43%|
|Reuters (report)||October 12-14, 2010||48%||44%|
|Rasmussen Reports||October 13, 2010||50%||44%|
|Angus Reid Public Opinion||October 6, 2010||53%||41%|
|Reuters/Ipsos||October 4, 2010||50%||43%|
|Rasmussen Reports||October 3, 2010||49%||44%|
|CNN/Time/Opinion Research Corporation||September 24-28, 2010||52%||43%|
|PPIC||September 19-26, 2010||37%||38%|
|The Los Angeles Times/USC||September 15-22, 2010||49%||44%|
|Survey USA||September 19-21, 2010||46%||43%|
|Rasmussen Reports||September 20, 2010||47%||46%|
|Fox News/Pulse Opinion Research||September 18, 2010||45%||45%|
|Field Poll||September 14-21, 2010||41%||41%|
|Public Policy Polling||September 14-16, 2010||47%||42%|
|FOX News||September 11, 2010||43%||49%|
|CNN||September 2-7, 2010||46%||48%|
|Rasmussen Reports||September 6, 2010||45%||48%|
|Survey USA||August 31-September 1, 2010||40%||47%|
|Rasmussen Reports||August 24, 2010||40%||48%|
|Survey USA||August 9-11, 2010||43%||44%|
|Rasmussen Reports||August 3, 2010||43%||41%|
|Public Policy Polling||July 23-25, 2010||46%||40%|
|Rasmussen Reports||July 12, 2010||46%||47%|
|Survey USA||July 8-11, 2010||39%||46%|
|The Field Poll||June 22-July 5, 2010||44%||43%|
|Reuters||June 30, 2010||45%||39%|
|Rasmussen Reports||June 9, 2010||45%||44%|
|USC/Los Angeles Times||May 19–26, 2010||44%||38%|
|Rasmussen Reports||May 24, 2010||45%||41%|
|Public Policy Polling||May 21–23, 2010||48%||36%|
|Research 2000||May 17–19, 2010||46%||42%|
|Public Policy Institute of California||May 9-16 2010||42%||37%|
|Rasmussen Reports||April 19, 2010||44%||38%|
|USC/Los Angeles Times||March 23–30, 2010||41%||44%|
|Public Policy Institute of California||March 24, 2010||39%||44%|
|The Field Poll||March 17, 2010||43%||46%|
|Rasmussen Reports||March 15, 2010||40%||40%|
|Research 2000||March 10, 2010||45%||41%|
|Rasmussen Reports||February 15, 2010||43%||43%|
|Public Policy Institute of California||January 27, 2010||41%||36%|
|Rasmussen Reports||January 19, 2010||43%||39%|
|The Field Poll||January 5–17, 2010||46%||36%|
|Public Policy Institute of California||December 16, 2009||43%||37%|
|Rasmussen Reports||November 17, 2009||41%||41%|
|The Field Poll||Sept. 15–Oct. 5, 2009||50%||29%|
|Rasmussen Reports||September 24, 2009||44%||35%|
|Research 2000||August 9, 2009||42%||36%|
|Rasmussen Reports||January 14, 2009||40%||38%|