Dan Walters

Dan Walters
Observations on California and its politics
03/24/2015 – 8:14 AM

Gov. Pat Brown, when asked a half-century ago when he would declare his intention to run for re-election, famously replied “when the snow flies in the Sierra.”

His son, Jerry, jokingly used the same phrase five-plus years ago when reporters pressed him about seeking the governorship again after a 28-year absence.

Well, there isn’t much snow flying in the Sierra these days, thanks to California’s prolonged drought. And some politicians aren’t waiting for winter precipitation to signal their interest in succeeding the younger Brown three years hence.

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, having decided not to run for the U.S. Senate next year, quickly made it clear that he wanted the governorship, and is already raising money for what could be a very expensive campaign.

Antonio Villaraigosa, another prominent politician who also eschewed a run for the Senate, showed up in Fresno last week on what he called “a listening and learning tour” – political-speak for building visibility in preparation for a political campaign.

Villaraigosa is the former mayor of Los Angeles who has made little secret of his interest in continuing his political career and being a chief executive – i.e., governor – rather than serving in the Senate.

There’s a possibility that U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein would retire in 2018, particularly if Democrats don’t recapture control of the Senate in 2016. That possibility complicates the maneuvering by those who yearn for major office.

Who else might not be waiting for snow to fly in the Sierra?

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