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Brown Defeats Whitman 

Brown Defeats Whitman 

Jerry Brown has won his third term as governor of California, defeating billionaire Republican opponent Meg Whitman in the most expensive race in state history, the Los Angeles Times reports. He will succeed outgoing governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

In debates leading up to Election Day the two candidates sparred over immigration, government waste, and education. But it was their opposing stances on Proposition 8, which amended California's constitution to ban same-sex marriage, that drew the attention of state gay organizations and many LGBT voters.

Brown, the current state attorney general, has declined to defend the 2008 ballot measure in the federal case Perry v. Schwarzenegger, both at trial and on appeal before the ninth circuit court of appeals. Whitman said on the campaign trail that she felt compelled to defend the will of the voters who passed Prop. 8 by a slim margin.

Steve Cooley, Los Angeles County's district attorney and candidate for attorney general, adopted the same stance. But as of Wednesday morning his opponent San Francisco district attorney Kamala Harris --who, like Brown, does not favor a defense of Prop. 8 -- maintains a slight lead in a race that has yet to be called, with 93% of precincts reporting.

"Prop. 8 is an example of that -- we need to have leadership in the state that's focused on not only the commitment to innovation but a preservation of civil rights," Harris told The Advocate in a recent interview. "I agree with Governor Schwarzenegger and [current] attorney general Jerry Brown that the limited resources of the state of California should not be used to defend a law that was found to be unconstitutional -- I would not defend it."

The gubernatorial race between Whitman, a former eBay CEO with no political experience, and Brown, a decades-long fixture of California politics painted by his opponent as beholden to state labor unions, was a reliably dramatic one, from allegations that Whitman knowingly employed an illegal immigrant to a Brown aide calling Whitman a "whore" on tape.

Whitman spent a total of $141.5 million to fund her campaign, which included a barrage of negative ads. On Tuesday she stood by her nine-figure personal investment in the race.

"What my investment in this campaign has done is give California voters a choice," Whitman said on KTTV's Good Day, L.A. morning show. "They do know what I stand for. This is a very stark choice between a career politician and a career problem-solver."

Earlier in the day, Schwarzenegger cast his vote but declined to say whom he had chosen in the race. Schwarzenegger had declined to endorse either candidate in the race.

Brown, who last held the governor's office in 1982, inherits a state with a crushing $19 billion deficit and a 12.4% unemployment rate.
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