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One in, one out: Jerry Brown to announce for Calif. governor, as Harold Ford opts out of N.Y. Senate tilt

March 1, 2010 |  6:38 pm

(UPDATE: Tuesday 11 a.m.: They both did what we said they would.)

Seventy-one-year-old Jerry Brown, who served as California's Democratic governor for two terms last century, is expected to announce his formal candidacy online Tuesday to re-seek his old job.

California Democrat Jerry Brown

He has no significant opposition for his party's nomination in the June primary, which he can seek because term limits were not invented when he last held the office. Although such limits will force Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger out next January.

Meanwhile, across the country another Democrat, former Tennessee Rep. Harold Ford Jr., now of Wall Street, has reportedly decided against a Democratic primary challenge of Kirsten Gillibrand. Ford, you no doubt recall, held his father's Memphis congressional seat for five terms before losing a Senate race to Bob Corker.

Despite a lackluster performance so far, Gillibrand has the backing of the Obama White House, where former Democratic Rep. Rahm Emanuel is the chief of staff after giving up his Chicago seat once held by another Democrat, Rod Blagojevich, who went on to become Illinois governor with the backing of Barack Obama.

Gillibrand is another former Democratic representative. She was named to fill Hillary Clinton's vacant Senate seat last year when the former Democratic first lady, who lost the Democratic presidential nomination to Obama, went to work as his secretary of State.

Obama is another former Democratic senator whose Illinois seat was filled by Democrat Roland Burris, who....

...was named to that vacancy by fellow Democrat Blagojevich, who was impeached and replaced by another Democrat, Pat Quinn, another Mr. Excitement who pushed to raise taxes and may have a race on his hands come November if incumbents have as much trouble as early polls augur.

Democrat Harold Ford

Ford spent recent weeks consulting with New York Democrats as incumbent Democrat Gov. David Paterson decided against an election race this year after inheriting the job from Eliot Spitzer, another Democrat who resigned following revelations he was a frequent patron of high-paid prostitutes, whose party affiliation is unknown.

Andrew Cuomo, currently New York attorney general and the son of former New York Democratic governor Mario Cuomo, is expected to cruise to that party's gubernatorial nomination.

Other than that, lots of fresh blood entering the nation's political system these days.

Oh, and don't forget that California's Brown is the son of Pat Brown, who also served two terms as California governor. The son just can't seem to tear himself away from elective office, serving now as California attorney general and previously as state Democratic chair, secretary of state and mayor of Oakland. Brown was also not nominated for president three times.

He will face either Republican Meg Whitman, multi-millionaire former head of eBay, or Steve Poizner, currently the state's insurance commissioner, for the dubious honor of heading the nation's most populous state with a budget billions of dollars in the red.

A Rasmussen Reports Poll in mid-February showed Brown thumping Poizner by more than 30 points in a head-to-head November race. However, the new Rasmussen survey showed Brown and Whitman tied at 43% apiece now, after Brown lead in January by 4 points. A likely measure of Whitman's ongoing early ad campaign.

On Monday Whitman also received the endorsement of Condoleeza Rice, former secretary of State.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photos: Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press; Associated Press