Politics & Government

Brown, Whitman make final push in California gubernatorial race

Jerry Brown, campaigning throughout the state in one final push before Election Day, was running late at a campaign stop in Chico on Sunday, and in the audience an aide held up his hand.

Brown finished speaking. It was about the only handling the Democratic gubernatorial nominee seemed likely to tolerate.

In appearance after appearance, Brown, with a wide lead in the polls, was even looser over the weekend than when the race appeared close. In the first two days of a 12-city tour, the former governor continued needling the Republican nominee, Meg Whitman.

He joked about his own political ambition and about being 72. He tried out new metaphors, some more effective than others. On Saturday he compared overcast skies in Stockton to the "dark clouds of Republican resistance."

"It's all right," Brown said when his microphone cut out at a breakfast at the historic Samoa Cookhouse outside Eureka. "It's kind of like government itself. It's a little bit stop and start."

Though it has contributed to an occasional gaffe, Brown's unscripted style has served him well in public appearances and at least two of three debates, his presentation viewed by many observers as genuine, if imperfect.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman, meanwhile, held what looked like a victory celebration in Burbank, complete with clouds of confetti and a live cover of the Rolling Stones hit "Jumpin' Jack Flash."

In her last full-scale rally before Election Day, her campaign did its best to project confidence two days before polls open. The billionaire former CEO of online auction firm eBay plans to visit her field offices today.

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