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Would 'one term' pledge get Jerry Brown past Meg Whitman in California?

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Robyn Beck/AFP/Newscom

(Read caption) California Attorney General Jerry Brown gestures during a press conference July 26. Political analysts say there are benefits and drawbacks to the idea of running for just one term as California governor.

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In California's tight gubernatorial race, could less really be more?

California Attorney General Jerry Brown (D) is already spending less – way less – on campaigning than former eBay CEO Meg Whitman (R). What if he promised only to stay in office for a single term? That's the strategy a leading political writer in California has suggested as a way for Mr. Brown to produce the fireworks he needs to shoot ahead of Ms. Whitman in their race – now neck and neck with just six weeks to go.

“Handled right – perhaps sprung before a large TV audience during a campaign debate – it could alter the Democrat’s widespread image as a career political opportunist,” writes George Skelton in the Los Angeles Times. “Brown could cast himself as a committed native son determined to reroute the state back onto the right track. And he would have credibility as an aging pol looking to burnish his legacy for the history books and join his father [former governor] Pat Brown, as one of California’s political greats. In addition, for anyone concerned about his age – 72 – it would guarantee that he’d step down at 76.”

Is Mr. Skelton's idea spot-on or spaced-out?

“[Skelton] is absolutely right on all counts,” says Barbara O’Connor, director of the Institute for Study of Politics and Media at California State University, Sacramento.

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