To Stop Trump, California Gov. Jerry Brown Endorses Hillary Clinton
By Evan Sernoffsky and Melody Gutierrez
California Gov. Jerry Brown said Tuesday he will vote for Hillary Clinton in the state's upcoming primary, explaining that she has the best chance of thwarting the "dangerous candidacy" of Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.
Brown had previously been cagey about whether he would endorse the former secretary of state over her Democratic rival, Bernie Sanders, who in recent days has been campaigning around the Bay Area leading up to California's June 7 primary.
"I have decided to cast my vote for Hillary Clinton because I believe this is the only path forward to win the presidency and stop the dangerous candidacy of Donald Trump," Brown wrote in an open letter to Democratic and independent voters posted on his website.
Brown praised Sanders, saying he was "deeply impressed" by the Vermont senator's performance and focus on fighting income inequality.
"He has driven home the message that the top 1 percent has unfairly captured way too much of America's wealth, leaving the majority of people far behind," Brown wrote. "In 1992, I attempted a similar campaign."
Brown lost his bid in 1992 for the party's nomination to Clinton's husband, Bill, in a race that touched off a heated political rivalry.
The two launched well-publicized jabs at each other over the years, including when Brown joked at a gubernatorial campaign event in 2010 about Bill Clinton's affair with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky. Brown apologized for the comments, and Bill Clinton went on to endorse him for governor.
Brown, who also ran for president in 1976 and 1980, argued Tuesday that the political math is in Hillary Clinton's favor and that her election is necessary to take down Trump.
"The Republican nominee, Donald Trump, has called climate change a 'hoax' and said he will tear up the Paris Climate Agreement," Brown said. "He has promised to deport millions of immigrants and ominously suggested that other countries may need the nuclear bomb. He has also pledged to pack the Supreme Court with only those who please the extreme right."
Brown applauded Clinton's skills as a legislator, saying of the former New York senator, "she knows how to get things done" and will be ready to lead the country on her first day in office.
Brown had previously dodged questions about whom he would support in the primary, while saying he planned to used his power as a superdelegate at the national convention to vote for whomever he favored, regardless of the Democratic Party's endorsement. But the four-term governor said Tuesday that he could no longer keep silent.
"The stakes couldn't be higher," Brown wrote. "Our country faces an existential threat from climate change and the spread of nuclear weapons. A new cold war is on the horizon. This is no time for Democrats to keep fighting each other.
"Next January," he said, "I want to be sure that it is Hillary Clinton who takes the oath of office, not Donald Trump."
Trump is scheduled to hold a rally Wednesday evening in Sacramento.
Sanders continues to stump around the Bay Area after a surprise visit to Oracle Arena on Monday night for Game 7 of the NBA's Western Conference finals, in which the Golden State Warriors finished off the Oklahoma City Thunder. Sanders, who is set to hold rallies in Palo Alto and Davis on Wednesday, has pledged to stay in the race despite Clinton's delegate lead.
That road could become tougher. A new statewide poll released Tuesday found Clinton with a 13-percentage-point lead, 51 to 38 percent, over Sanders in next week's primary. That's very different from last week's Public Policy Institute of California survey of likely voters, which showed Clinton barely ahead of Sanders, 46 to 44 percent.
The new Golden State Poll, released by Stanford University's Hoover Institution, was based on a survey of 1,700 California adults taken between May 4 and May 16. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.47 percent.
San Francisco Chronicle staff writer John Wildermuth contributed to this story.
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