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California Governor Jerry Brown endorses Libby Schaaf

on October 7, 2014

The sounds of cheering, clapping, and whistling filled the air outside Oakland mayoral candidate Libby Schaaf’s campaign headquarters Monday as California Governor Jerry Brown was introduced on a small stage in the backyard. “This is so exciting, I may have to run for mayor again,” Brown joked as he took position in front of the microphone to address the 140-plus people packed into the yard.

“I’m here to endorse Libby Schaaf,” said Brown, after talking about his admiration of Oakland.  Brown, who was the mayor of Oakland from 1999 until 2007, described Schaaf as a “down to earth person” with “a lot of common sense.”

Brown’s endorsement of Schaaf comes as no surprise to many people, since Schaaf worked as an aide to Brown for two years during his second term as mayor of Oakland. Brown’s backing might not be pivotal in the November elections, though, since it didn’t prove decisive when he backed Don Perata, who lost to current mayor Jean Quan in 2010, when ranked-choice voting was used for the first time in Oakland.

Brown also made available copies of a letter he had written in support of Schaaf—on Desk of Jerry Brown letterhead, with “paid for by Libby Schaaf for Oakland Mayor 2014” at the bottom.  “While there are some very good candidates running,” Brown wrote, “I believe Libby Schaaf is the most practical and would be the best choice.”

A big smile barely left the face of Schaaf, from the moment she walked Brown into the backyard and throughout the press conference. Schaaf told her supporters she was delighted by Brown’s support.

“I am incredibly proud and humbled to be endorsed by a great governor and a great Oaklander,” she said. “I am so excited to bring back to Oakland government that Jerry Brown ‘roll up your sleeves, get some stuff done’ energy for Oakland,” she said.

“We know that this city is so ready to realize its incredible potential, but it needs some better leadership.” Brown, the more seasoned politician, was diplomatic about Schaaf’s opponents. “There are a lot of good candidates,” he said.  “I’m not here to point fingers at one or another other than to say, I know Libby.  I think she can do a good job.

When asked by a reporter whom he will put second and third on his own ballot, he jokingly replied, to laughter from the assembled Schaaf supporters, “I don’t know. You know what? When I figure out how ranked choice voting works, then I’ll figure out who I’m going to vote for.”

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Photo by Basil D Soufi
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