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ATTORNEY GENERAL: BUTTRESSED BY FAMILY LEGACY, BROWN PRIMED TO TAKE NOMINATION.

Byline: RICK ORLOV Staff Writer

Former California Gov. Jerry Brown appeared destined to return to the state government he ran 24 years ago, taking a commanding lead Tuesday over L.A. City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo for the Democratic nomination for attorney general.

Brown, 68, the Oakland mayor for the past eight years, will face Republican state Sen. Chuck Poochigian of Fresno in the Nov. 7 general election.

Poochigian, who was unopposed in the GOP primary, has been stalking Brown for months, trying to gain attention by joining Delgadillo in criticizing Brown.

For Delgadillo, 45, the chance to run for attorney general was one he said he could not pass up, despite battling against the more than 50-year political legacy of the Brown family in California.

Delgadillo said he was not discouraged by the outcome.

``This was a great opportunity to talk to the people of California,'' Delgadillo said. ``I came into this as an underdog to take on the big fight.

``I'm an optimist and will continue to fight. I will continue to do what I can to protect the 5- and 6-year-olds in our neighborhoods.''

Brown relied almost exclusively on his history with California Democrats in the primary, spending relatively little on television or print advertising.

Delgadillo ran a campaign that began with attacks on Brown and only in the final days tried to identify himself to voters and offer a message that he would be a candidate for the future.

During the campaign, Delgadillo also was embarrassed by news stories questioning whether he had inflated his resume about playing professional football -- he said he tried out with a Canadian football league team.

Delgadillo was an upset winner for city attorney six years ago, a feat he'd hoped to repeat against Brown. He will remain city attorney through 2009, when he will be termed out.

For Brown, the election brings him full circle to the consciousness of California voters.

The son of one of California's most popular governors -- Edmund G. ``Pat'' Brown -- Jerry Brown began his political career on the Los Angeles Community College Board of Trustees.

From there, he went on to become state controller and secretary of state before being elected governor in 1974.

He was given the nickname ``Governor Moonbeam'' by a Chicago columnist for his then-unconventional views on the role of government and his high-profile relationship with rock singer Linda Ronstadt.

But he was credited with changing the face of state government, appointing more women and minorities to key positions than any other previous governor. He also emphasized issues that would come into vogue years later -- the environment and support for emerging technologies.

Brown ran for president while still governor and twice more after leaving office.

He went to India to work with Mother Teresa and returned to serve as chair of the state Democratic Party, later renouncing his party affiliation to run for mayor of Oakland. He then rejoined the party when he decided to run for attorney general.

The attorney general is the state's top law enforcement official, overseeing more than 1,100 attorneys, 700 peace officers and 3,200 other staff.

Poochigian, 57, is an attorney who got his start in politics working for then-state Sen. George Deukmejian, who was running for attorney general in 1978.

Poochigian worked in a number of appointed jobs for Deukmejian and former Gov. Pete Wilson before winning election to the state Assembly in 1994 and then moving up to the state Senate in 1998.

Also qualifying for the November ballot are Libertarian Kenneth Weissman, Jack Harrison of the Peace and Freedom Party, and Michael Wyman of the Green Party.

rick.orlov(at)dailynews.com

(213) 978-0390

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Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown -- with wife, Anne, and dog, Dharma, in Oakland on Tuesday -- will likely face state Sen. Chuck Poochigian in the Nov. 7 election for state attorney general.

Ben Margot/Associated Press
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Jun 7, 2006
Words:648
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