California Governor Jerry Brown is finally on the campaign trail this week – after avoiding it the whole year. But rather than focusing on his re-election bid, he’s making a late push for two statewide ballot measures – including one that might be on shaky ground.
Polls suggest the governor himself is a shoe-in to win a record fourth term on Tuesday over his Republican challenger, Neel Kashkari. So Brown is pouring his time – and campaign money – into the two bipartisan ballot measures he negotiated with state lawmakers this year: the $7.5 billion water bond, known as Proposition 1 and the “rainy day fund” budget reserve known as Proposition 2.
“That’s a level of unity that the people in Washington would die for,” Brown said of the Legislature's bipartisan votes for the two ballot measures, “because they are so screwed up that something like water or roads or budget integrity – it’s beyond.”
On Wednesday, Brown’s barnstorming tour brought him to Modesto, where he spoke with the quintessential farm scene as his backdrop – a red tractor in front of a red barn. He was joined not just by some Democratic lawmakers, but incoming Assembly Republican Leader Kristin Olsen.
“I will say I was a little bit surprised to see the ‘We’re with Jerry’ signs at the press conference today,” Olsen said. “But I’m telling you, the water bond and the rainy day fund are so important – and so sometimes, politics is the art of compromise.”
Polls show Prop 1 only slightly above the magic 50 percent mark – and Prop 2 a bit short. But neither measure’s opponents have raised any significant campaign funds.