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Democrats appeal for African American votes

October 24, 2010 |  3:44 pm

Before audiences representing one of the Democratic party’s most dependable constituencies, members of the party’s statewide ticket campaigned at a smattering of African American churches in Southern California on Sunday to appeal for votes Nov. 2.

Democratic gubernatorial nominee Jerry Brown infused a gibe at Republican Meg Whitman’s voting history with a reference to the sacrifices made by African Americans to ensure their right to vote.

“A lot of people struggled a lot. People died to vote, so that’s why it’s so important to go out there and do it,” he told the audience at Greater Zion church in Compton.

“You’ve probably heard that the person I’m running against didn’t vote most of the time,” Brown added. “But I’m not going to talk about that because you already know it.”

There and at several other churches, Brown used biblical references to draw murmurs of assent from the crowd.

“With your help and God’s blessings, we’ll make it work for everyone, not just the powerful, not just the people who seek out fame,” Brown told hundreds at First A.M.E. Church in the West Adams neighborhood of Los Angeles before a reference to Luke: “The children of darkness in their own way are pretty smart, but this is the time for the children of light.”

Democratic attorney general nominee Kamala Harris told the Greater Zion audience that the criminal justice system needed to “incorporate that age-old concept of redemption.”

“There are those who would call this perspective radical, as my opponent has called me. But I would suggest, yes, I am radical in my belief in what we can do to improve the system. How we can change without being caught up and burdened with just a blind adherence to tradition, how we can be smart on crime and not just talk about ‘Are you soft, are you tough’ -- are we smart?”

Harris, the San Francisco district attorney, is running against her Los Angeles counterpart, Steve Cooley.

Republican gubernatorial nominee Meg Whitman had no public events Sunday. But on Saturday she made appearances before three Asian American groups, seeking advantage with that voting segment. She also attacked Brown for his handling of the city of Oakland during his tenure as mayor and said voters needed to side with a respected businesswoman over a 40-year politician.

-- Cathleen Decker

 

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