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Jerry Brown files papers to explore run for governor

September 29, 2009 |  5:42 pm

Jerry Brown dropped the fiction that he was seeking reelection as state attorney general and filed papers today to explore a run for governor, a job he first won in 1974 and has for months been fighting hard, if quietly, to recapture.

Brown’s move was born of necessity: Contributions to candidates for attorney general are capped at $6,500 per election for individual donors, but gubernatorial contestants can accept up to $25,900.

“If he chooses to run, it will make him more competitive against a deep-pocketed Republican opponent,” said Steven Glazer, a senior advisor to Brown, a Democrat.

Two of the three Republicans now running are multimillionaires.

By all appearances, the former Oakland mayor and three-time presidential candidate chose long ago to run for governor in 2010. But by keeping it unofficial, Brown has minimized his inevitable clash with San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, the lone major Democrat in the June primary.

“This coy act that he’s been going through for months has been getting a little stale,” said Newsom strategist Garry South. “He’s basically used it to avoid answering questions, to avoid taking positions.”

Brown, who often brushes aside questions on the governor’s race by saying he is focused on his current job, will likely wait until next year to decide whether to run, Glazer said.

-- Michael Finnegan