Wow. Give the man a break. Even this Republican wants to see what happens for a few months before we start digging Jerry's grave.
I wouldn't presume Jerry Brown is a one-termer. That said, Antonio Villaraigosa has to be considered top tier, despite his occasional pratfall and mixed record in L.A.
I do not presume Jerry Brown is a one-termer. His whole, long political history shows that he defies convention - often just for the sake of defying convention - and confounds expectations. Remember, he began the 1992 cycle running for Senate, and ended up running again for president. He got out of politics - a "recovering politician," he called himself -- in the mid-'90s, but has run for and won three different offices since then. If his health holds up, I fully expect him to run for a second (fourth) term.
My pick is Fiona Ma but not sure she will be ready. It is certainly not Steinberg. After one term I would think that if Newsom and Harris were to run against each other it would open up the opportunity for an L.A. candidate to waltz right on in.
It's Harris v Newsom. He has the early advantage, but she has the better office to run from. He'll need to find issues to glom onto without seeming like he's grasping at straws, she just needs to do her job and have a good press secretary. Can't see Chiang overtaking either for top job. He'll just move over and be treasurer and be great at that too.
If Newsom can live down a few problems – all minor – then he seems to have the charisma and gravitas to get it done. Better than the others on the campaign trail. He also has personal money.
Kamala Harris. If she can keep her nose clean and follow through on even part of her goals, she could be a winner.
At this point, John Howard is within 5 points of anyone you might name. So, for the time being, I'm hitching my little red wagon to him.
John Chiang is the clear front runner. He will have the opportunity to set the agenda on the budget and California economic recovery. The other two will not. I am sure one of them will run against him but he will prevail. He has ethos.