Election 2010: Brown, Whitman deliver final pitch to Calif voters | SierraSun.com

Election 2010: Brown, Whitman deliver final pitch to Calif voters

Judy Lin and Juliet Williams
Associated Press

SAN DIEGO and#8212; Democrat Jerry Brown kicked off the final day of his campaign for California governor Monday with a promise to voters that he would work with lawmakers to solve the state’s financial problems and always “tell it like it is.”

Hundreds of supporters crowded into an outdoor Mexican restaurant in a historic area of San Diego, where Brown watched tortillas being made as music played across the street.

He said California, which faces a multibillion-dollar budget deficit, faces problems but nothing that can’t be solved with compromise. Brown often tangled with lawmakers during his first tenure as governor from 1975 to 1983 but said he would work with Democrats, Republicans and independents if elected to a third term.

“You’ve got to be honest, inclusive, and you’ve got to be fair,” Brown said.

Brown left the restaurant to visit Los Angeles and Salinas before planning to wrap up his campaign with a fireworks show in his hometown of Oakland, the city where he once served as mayor.

Republican Meg Whitman, who has made a similar pledge to bring lawmakers together, is spending her day rallying campaign volunteers in Southern California in Woodland Hills, Costa Mesa, San Diego and Temecula.

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In the Woodland Hills office, Whitman said momentum of Tuesday’s election was with her and the GOP ticket.

“You can feel the energy and enthusiasm,” she responded to a reporter’s question about how she’s feeling with one day left in the race. “I can’t tell you how many people have come up to me and said ‘I’m a lifelong Democrat. I’ve never voted for a Republican. I’m voting for you.'”

After shaking hands and taking pictures with volunteers, she sat down with four women in a cubicle and made five phone calls asking for support. She rang a cow bell after hanging up one call, signaling one more vote.

Both candidates are delivering their closing arguments to voters in what has become California’s most expensive gubernatorial race in history.

Public opinion polls have shown Brown is leading Whitman, a billionaire former chief executive of eBay Inc., who has spent nearly $142 million of her personal fortune on her first run for political office.

A Field Poll released Thursday showed Brown with a double-digit lead and#8212; 49 percent to 39 percent and#8212; over Whitman among likely voters. But Whitman and her supporters say they believe the same energy behind Republicans nationwide will result in a GOP sweep in California and overcome a 13 percentage point Democratic voter registration advantage.

When asked about recent polling showing her behind, Whitman said it was closer.

“The only poll that matters is tomorrow,” she said Monday. “Our polls still look really good. Our polls look great. We’re going to battle it out to the end. I feel great about where we are.”

At staged events filled with supporters, Whitman told loud crowds over the weekend that she remained confident her business experience and plans to cut spending and regulations would resonate with California voters who will cast their ballots Tuesday.

“I like to think about it as two more days before a lot of good things happen,” she told a crowd of about 300 supporters gathered Sunday at a Burbank hotel. “In two more days we’re going to start bringing really good jobs back to California.”

Brown maintained a vigorous schedule Sunday, receiving a warm welcome from hundreds of supporters at campaign stops that crisscrossed the state from a historic cookhouse in far Northern California to a Mexican restaurant in the inland region east of Los Angeles and#8212; two areas that have suffered tough times because of the state’s battered economy.

Brown said the state should look to its inspiring past for guidance on the future, evoking California’s pioneering spirit that motivated so many people to settle here, including his great grandfather who came across the plains from Missouri in 1852.

Throughout the weekend, Whitman cast herself as a “proven job creator” who would be ready to tackle the state’s deficit with deep cuts to public payroll and entitlement programs, while growing the economy with the classic GOP approach of deregulation and tax cuts.