Linda Ronstadt's greatest hits played on a stereo in the upstairs Thayer apartment. A powder-blue Plymouth Satellite was parked on the street below.
Capitol denizens past and present filed in to the N Street building, having paid $2,500 to $10,000 to eat sushi and other Asian food, drink wine and get reacquainted with the featured attraction.
Where, exactly, was that attraction?
Jerry Brown, rarely one to show up on time, appeared 31 minutes past the appointed 5 p.m. start of the fundraiser thrown for him at the apartment he rented for $275 a month, back when he tooled around in the 1974 Plymouth and dated one of the hottest acts of the time.
"This is about the future, not the past," the once and perhaps future governor said, accommodating photographers by standing by the Plymouth, a relic on loan for the evening from the California Auto Museum.
For better or worse, Brown is the lone Democrat in the race for governor. Other Democrats pulled out, knowing they could not beat a politician who has held office for four decades and is the son of a governor who held office decades earlier.
Billionaire Republican Meg Whitman, a name unknown to most voters a few months ago, has been using her wealth to carry out the threat made by one of her aides to run her Republican rival through a "wood chipper." With a $27 million ad blitz, Whitman has opened a 50-point lead over Republican Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner, polls show. Poizner vows to close the gap.
Voter attitudes could change by the June primary. But as it stands, the race will come down to Brown and Whitman.
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