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CALIFORNIA ELECTIONS / GOVERNOR : Clinton Is the Headliner for Brown Fund-Raiser


WASHINGTON — California Treasurer Kathleen Brown, seeking an infusion into her gubernatorial campaign treasury, attended a Washington fund-raiser Friday whose centerpiece was President Clinton, viewed by many Democrats as a drag on their election prospects.

While admitting that the White House may be of dubious value to some Democrats, Brown announced earlier Friday that Clinton is scheduled to headline a fund-raiser for her in California on Oct. 22.

"There are head winds that come from the difficulties that the Administration has been having. My sense is that those head winds are less strong in California than in other parts of the country . . . because I am running against an incumbent," Brown said at a luncheon with reporters.

"The biggest difference in my case is that I don't have an I (for incumbent) behind my name," Brown said.

Clinton had to cancel an earlier fund-raising event for Brown because of the Haiti crisis. Brown plans to visit New York today for additional fund-raising activities before returning to California.

Brown said her internal polling showed that her campaign was behind Wilson's by about 6 percentage points, but was improving.

Saying her run for the Statehouse "will come to fruition" during the next four to five weeks, Brown declared that her Republican foe, Gov. Pete Wilson, is "eminently beatable."

"I am the clear alternative to a governor who has no agenda, other than a political agenda to get reelected," said Brown.

Debunking reports that she is running low on funds, Brown said she had sufficient funds to meet her payroll "and advance her agenda and strategy."

"We don't have any financial problems more than usual, running against an incumbent governor who has every special interest in the state locked up," Brown said.

Saying people are fed up with Wilson's attacks on her in 30-second ads, Brown said she would woo voters by selling them on her 62-page plan, "Building a New California." Asked what media venues she would use, Brown would only say, "Stay tuned."

Brown downplayed the effect gender would have in the governor's race.

"Women broke through the gender barrier in '92 when California sent two women senators to Washington. Now it's what do you stand for," said Brown.

"But there are unique problems for women running for CEO (of a state) that persist even in the face of breaking through the gender barrier . . . that relate to crime and financial management. Uniquely in my case, my track record as (treasurer) offers a trump card on the issue of financial management.

"Admittedly, on offense, I will never win the crime issue, but that was never part of my strategy. . . . My strengths will be the specifics of my plan, particularly on education, jobs, fiscal management," she said.

Brown said she is committing $7 million to voter-registration efforts, including get-out-the vote and vote-by-mail campaigns.

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