Jerry Brown Endorses Libby Schaaf in Oakland Mayor's Race

Oakland mayoral candidate Libby Schaaf with Gov. Jerry Brown in Oakland on Monday. (Alex Emslie/KQED)

Update, 4:55 p.m.: It's official. Gov. Jerry Brown has endorsed City Councilmember Libby Schaaf for mayor.

The governor, a resident of Oakland as well as a former two-term mayor of the city, appeared at a press conference at Schaaf's campaign headquarters in the Grand Lake neighborhood to announce the endorsement.

"I’ve lived in different places," Brown said. "I’ve lived in downtown, I lived in Jack London, I’ve lived up in the hills, and it’s all different, it’s all diverse, and it’s all good. And to keep it going and to make it even better, I know that Libby Schaaf will be a great mayor."

In recent polls, Schaaf has been running behind Rebecca Kaplan, a fellow councilmember, and incumbent Mayor Jean Quan. The Oakland Tribune said both of them declined comment on Brown's endorsement.

Schaaf has focused on public safety, the quality of leadership in the city and her lifelong ties to Oakland. Brown said he's confident she's well-positioned to overtake her opponents.

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"The campaign is going to be won by volunteers and people door-to-door talking among themselves about what Oakland needs," Brown said. "So, Libby’s been around the city. She went to Skyline [High School]. ... There are a lot of good candidates. I’m not here to point fingers at one or another, other than to say I Know Libby; I think she could do a good job."

Schaaf said she was gratified at the governor's support.

"Now I know that the governor and I share an incredible love, appreciation and fierce pride for the city of Oakland," she said. "We know that this city is so ready to realize it’s incredible potential, but it needs some better leadership."

Original post: Jerry Brown -- governor, former state attorney general, former mayor of Oakland, three-time presidential hopeful, former governor and former secretary of state -- is about to throw the weight of his resume behind one of the 15 candidates vying to be the next leader of the East Bay's largest city. Brown is scheduled to make an appearance with Councilmember Libby Schaaf early Monday afternoon.

Though there's been no official word, the assumption is that the ex-AG/mayor/governor will endorse Schaaf. KQED's Cy Musiker spoke to Schaaf campaign manager Peggy Moore early Monday, and she said she couldn't discuss the purpose of Brown's appearance. Could she confirm that the governor is going to endorse Schaaf -- as the Oakland Tribune is reporting without attribution? "I can't do that," she told Musiker.

The Trib notes that Schaaf, whom recent polls have shown trailing Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan and incumbent mayor Jean Quan, has close ties to Brown:

She served two years as a special assistant to Brown during his second term as Oakland mayor. And several people involved in her campaign have close ties to the governor, most notably Oakland developer John Protopappas, who serves as Schaaf's finance chairman.

Brown's endorsement comes on the first day of early voting in Oakland and several weeks after two polls showed Kaplan handily defeating Quan with Schaaf finishing in third or fourth place.

Schaaf has fared well when it comes to raising money. As of June, she had raised $351,166, which far outpaced the field. Schaaf's campaign on Monday reported having raised $404,547 as of the end of last month. Brown remains very popular in Oakland, but residents who look back fondly on his eight years as mayor haven't been quick to take his advice as to who should hold the office. In 2006, Brown endorsed Councilman Ignacio De La Fuente, who lost to Ron Dellums. Four years later, he endorsed Don Perata, who lost to Quan.

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