With a 20-point lead over his GOP challenger and $23 million burning a hole in his pocket, California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) is funding and appearing in two ads promoting ballot issues without even mentioning his own re-election -- a move his strategists say may be a first.
Brown's two 30-second spots advocating for the passage of Proposition 1 to secure a $7.5 billion water bond, and Proposition 2 to stabilize the rainy day budget, began airing Wednesday.
“Prop 1 saves water to protect us during times of drought, and Prop 2 saves money in good times to protect schools and public safety when times are bad,” Brown says in one of the ads, not addressing his run against Republican Neel Kashkari, a former U.S. Treasury Department official who finished second, after Brown, in the state's open primary in June.
Dan Newman, a strategist and spokesman for Brown’s campaign, touted the governor's advocacy as a first-time move.
“It’s unprecedented, that someone running for re-election is dedicating their time, effort and campaign funds to a (cause) that is not self-promotional,” Newman told the San Francisco Chronicle. “But the propositions embody his fundamental governing philosophy of planning ahead, and saving for the future. … It’s who he is and it’s what he’s about.”
Without airing any ads and agreeing to just one debate -- which The Washington Post pointed out was held during the U.S. Open and the NFL season opener -- Brown is running what the Chronicle has coined as a “non-campaign.”
"He's been so effective in being above the political fray that he can just swoop in and say, 'I'm Jerry Brown -- and I'm done,’” Corey Cook, a University of San Francisco professor, told the Chronicle last month. "Jerry is operating as if he's at the start of his next term, not as if he's seeking re-election."
Kashkari reportedly has just $680,000 remaining for the campaign.
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