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By Paul Losch

2010 California Governor's Race

Uploaded: Jan 7, 2010

Am I alone in trying to sort out the 4 "top candidates?"

There is Meg Whitman, with whom I had limited business dealings 20+ years ago. Powerhouse executive, protoge of former Bain and Company CEO, former Massachusetts Governor, and 2008 GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney

There is Steve Poizner, who has a great SV resume for what he did with his high tech company, and to his credit has been involved in public service for about the last 8 years, currently as State Insurance Commissioner, and with a stint at the White House around the aftermath of 9/11.

There is Tom Campbell, former Congressman, former Stanford Law professor, former Dean of the Haas School of Business at CAL, and former advisor to our current "Governator" on matters economic and budgetary--I don't remember what his official role was. He held the Congressional seat here in the Palo Alto environs which now is occupied by Representative Anna Eshoo.

There is Jerry Brown, two term former Governor, two term former Oakland Mayor, current Attorney General, and the only Democrat of the four I mention.

Whitman and Poizner have deep pockets, and have no compunction about spending money to finance their campaigns.

Campbell does appear to have the money or the appetite to raise it to wage as visible an effort as Meg and Steve have under way.

Jerry Brown has always been a cheapskate, especially when he last was Governor, and since he has no apparent credible Democratic competition, he may not need a treasure chest to help him along.

There is a history in the 30+ years that I have lived in California for business people, usually Republicans, to run for Guv and lose the race. Celebrities?--different animal.

Here's my simplistic take so far:

Meg Whitman is taking a Procter and Gamble (where she worked early in her career) brand manager approach to the campaign--she is the "brand" being peddled, and she is the "brand manager" who will fix California.

Steve Poizner, for all the money he has purportedly invested in this campaign, is largely invisible. I admire Steve, but he is not the most charismatic guy when presenting a public face. This may not be the right job for him, as much as he may want it.

Tom Campbell's resume is beyond reproach. But he does not seem to have an appetite to run for an office, which is understandable. In the case of running for the GOP primary nomination, it is a requirement he cannot avoid. He has made no effort to do so, as far as I know, and he will lose out to two SV executives with juggernaut campaign funding. Never mind that Tom does not like to raise money, and that Meg and Steve are putting a great deal of their personal money into this. At the end of the day, Tom does not have the money.

Jerry Brown scares me. He was a terrible Governor, I perceive he has learned a few things from his experience as Mayor of Oakland, but he was an awful Governor in the 1970's, in my recollection. Too idealistic, too pompous, not easy to work with.

All candiates are flawed at all elections, but this appears to be a particularly flawed choice set. I admire Meg and Steve, but I am skeptical that they have the moxy around working Sacramento. Their Harvard/Stanford MBA training and experience sounds great, but that's not what works in SACTO.

Campbell--he could be effective, but he does not appear to really want the job. Maybe he has a "been there, done that, got the t-shirt and the cap," point of view and he just doesn't want that at this point.

Jerry Brown--I am frightened. Most people living in California today were not yet born when he was in charge. He was an awful Governor when he was in office, a flaky Presidential candidate (Clinton to Brown in a debate: "Chill out, Jerry!")

If I were closing the curtains in the voting booth and choosing one of these four front runners my choice would be...

I am not gonna tell ya, and I would love to have you post your choice.