SAN DIEGO (AP) — 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 bring inclusion and transparency to the office.
Brown and other Democrats seeking statewide office rallied outside the downtown Los Angeles library after he appeared in San Diego.
“Living within our means is not going to be that easy, but I’ve pledged to work with everybody.” Brown said in Los Angeles. “When I start this job—if I’m elected—I’m not going to wait for a couple of months. I’m going to go to work.”
Republican Meg Whitman, who has made a similar pledge to bring lawmakers together, spent her day rallying campaign volunteers working to boost voter turnout.
In Woodland Hills, Whitman said the momentum was with her and the GOP, which is hoping to make gains nationwide.
“You can feel the energy and enthusiasm,” she said. “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, Whitman 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.
The former CEO was also meeting with volunteers in Costa Mesa, San Diego and Temecula.
In San Diego, hundreds of Brown supporters packed into an outdoor Mexican restaurant in a historic area of the city for a morning rally for Brown, who watched tortillas being made as music played across the street.
He said California faces a multibillion-dollar budget deficit that will require compromise to reduce.
Brown, who is now the state attorney general, often tangled with lawmakers during his first tenure as governor from 1975 to 1983.
“To get through the difficulty and get Republican and Democrat working together, you’ve got to be honest, you’ve got to be inclusive and you’ve got to be fair,” he said.
Brown left Los Angeles for Salinas then planned to wrap up his campaign with a fireworks show in his hometown of Oakland, the city where he once served as mayor. He will be competing for attention in the Bay Area with the World Series, where the San Francisco Giants are leading 3-1.
Both candidates delivered 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 last week showed Brown with a double-digit lead—49 percent to 39 percent—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 those polls, Whitman said she believes the race was closer than those surveys indicated.
“The only poll that matters is tomorrow,” she said Monday. “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.
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.
Brown said voters only need to look at his track record as governor to see that he will bring an inclusive approach to governing.
“Everybody’s got something to contribute and we want a government that’s made up of all of us,” Brown said.
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