Jerry Brown issues town hall challenge to Meg Whitman

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown at a press conference in Los Angeles June 9, 2010.
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown at a press conference in Los Angeles June 9, 2010.
Corey Moore/KPCC

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Less than a day after he won California’s gubernatorial primary, Jerry Brown took aim at his Republican contender Meg Whitman. He issued a challenge in front of reporters at the Los Angeles Athletic Club.

The state's current attorney general and former governor wants to square off against the former top eBay exec in 10 town hall-style debates.

“How we respond is very significant in live time,” said Brown. “We don’t need to have the best commercial makers, that’ll be done. But I think this’ll be helpful to the people. I think if she’s serious about wanting to deal with the legislature and the state’s problems she ought to deal with me.”

Whitman has shelled out $71 million of her own money for her campaign so far. Brown, who stood alone to win the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, has spent about $400,000 this year. He said he’s banking on his political experience and a new theme for the general election to show voters he’s ready to govern.

“Well, I’m not going to use any of my old slogans,” Brown joked. “I’m developing a new one – ‘An agenda of humility’ – which means living within your means. And I mean that.”

Brown promised he’ll take on opponents of slashing California’s budget. The state faces a $19 billion deficit next fiscal year.

Whitman, speaking at a rally in Anaheim, countered Brown’s town hall challenge by saying he should focus on revealing his plan for California. Whitman said she’s released a 48-page policy book detailing her proposals.

"There will be plenty of debates, ... but what I would say to Jerry Brown, instead of calling for debates he should lay out his plan for California,'' Whitman said. "His website has virtually nothing on it. I have put out a 48-page policy book that details the plan that I have to turn around California, so I would call on Jerry Brown to lay out a plan for California and then at least we'll have something to debate about.''

Wire services contributed to this report.