Of the 3,000 or so Democrats who will gather at the California party's convention in Los Angeles this weekend, the one with the most to prove will also claim one of the longest political track records in the state — gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown.
The 72-year-old former governor's appearance at the three-day event will mark his triumphant return to the spotlight after staging a remarkable decade-long political comeback. He now serves as state attorney general.
But Brown will also face questions from anxious Democrats who wonder whether he can take on billionaire Republican candidate Meg Whitman, who in recent months has erased his lead in public opinion polls.
Brown's task will be to fire up the faithful and assure them he has a game plan, said Robert Cruickshank, public policy director of the liberal advocacy group Courage Campaign and editor of the blog Calitics.
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"Most Democrats believe Brown can make up for this, but Brown needs to show how he can make this happen," Cruickshank said. "This needs to be a campaign kickoff."
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