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Jerry Brown projected winner in California governor's race

November 2, 2010 |  9:32 pm

Brown_projected_winner Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown is projected to become the next governor of California, based on early returns and exit poll results. With 16% of the state's precincts reporting, Brown holds a 49% to 46% lead over Republican Meg Whitman.  The Los Angeles Times is projecting Brown as the winner of the race, based on those returns and exit poll results.

Brown and and his wife, Anne Gust Brown, descended the stairs of the Fox Theater in Oakland when they discovered that news outlets had declared him the winner. Brown looked stunned as his wife hugged him and gave him a kiss. "What's the percentage," he asked as he wandered through the lobby and into the theater where he shook the hands of a few supporters and posed for pictures, before moving into a side room. Earlier, he walked through the crowd to thank supporters, unattended. "Jerry's back there," an aide said.

His press secretary, Sterling Clifford, hustled to meet him. Asked when he would speak, Brown said he had to wait for the "leaders" to decide, pointing to Gust Brown and his campaign manager, Steve Glazer. "We haven't been called yet," Glazer said.

Brown, who had previously served as California's youngest governor since the 1850s, became the oldest Californian ever elected to the post Tuesday, winning a decisive victory over Republican Meg Whitman.

Brown was elected after the most expensive governor's race in California history.  Whitman spent more than $160 million during her campaign,  including $141.5 million of her own money, shattering national records for individual spending on a political campaign. Brown raised more than $32 million for his campaign, and labor unions and other groups spent an additional $25 million on Brown's behalf.

The former governor told voters throughout the campaign that he had the experience needed to lead the state out of its dire fiscal situation. He vowed to gather lawmakers later this month to begin tackling the state's budget deficit, which is already estimated at more than $20 billion for the next fiscal year.

Since last being elected governor in 1978, Brown has run for president twice, in 1980 and 1992, and for U.S. Senate in 1982. Brown also served as chairman of the state Democratic Party, Oakland mayor from 1996 to 2004, and the state's attorney general since 2006.

Brown, 72, will be sworn in for his third term as California governor on Jan. 3. He was first elected governor in 1974 at age of 36.

In 1990, California voters passed a law limiting governors and other statewide elected officials to two four-year terms. Brown's prior service was not counted under the term-limits law, however, because he served his terms before the law was passed.

-- Anthony York in Los Angeles and Michael J. Mishak in Oakland

Photo credit: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

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