By Dan Walters
Published: Friday, Jan. 15, 2010 – 12:00 am | Page 3A

The late Gov. Pat Brown, when asked whether he would seek re-election, famously replied that he would declare his intentions when “the snow flies in the Sierra.”

It’s been snowing in the Sierra for months, but Pat’s son, Jerry, still is being coy about whether he will, indeed, seek a second stint as governor this year.

The younger Brown, a two-term governor three decades ago who’s once again in office as attorney general, gives every indication of intending to run. But he apparently believes there’s no hurry to announce because he’s the only Democratic hopeful still standing.

Brown’s delay irritates many Democratic insiders, while left-wingers are clearly unhappy that he seems to be taking them for granted while staking out positions they despise, such as failing to embrace new taxes as a way to balance the state budget.

As Brown dawdles, this year’s election picture is coming into sharper focus – most recently with former Congressman Tom Campbell’s shift of ambition from governor to the U.S. Senate.

Campbell, a Silicon Valley moderate, was running fairly well in the polls vis-à-vis the other two Republican candidates, former eBay boss Meg Whitman and Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner, but couldn’t compete financially against two very wealthy rivals.

“The path of public service and teaching is rewarding, but it does not afford one the ability to invest millions of dollars in a campaign for office,” Campbell said in a letter Thursday to his supporters.

Campbell, however, may be jumping from the gubernatorial frying pan into the senatorial fire since his chief rival for the latter nomination is another very wealthy Silicon Valley businesswoman, former Hewlett-Packard honcho Carly Fiorina.

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