There is virtually no doubt that Gov. Jerry Brown will advance out of the June 3 primary to the November general election. Among likely voters in a Field Poll released last month, 57% indicated support for Brown.
In addition, he enjoyed a 59% approval rating and more than 1 in 3 Republicans said that the Democratic governor was doing a good job.
Brown inherited a mess from Arnold Schwarzenegger and has put California on better financial footing. He is a pragmatic and savvy executive who has reined in the free-spending ways of a Legislature dominated by members of his political party.
While being careful with tax dollars is important, the governor hasn't been afraid to invest where it will benefit citizens. The best example of this is his overhaul of public school funding. Dollars now go toward students with the biggest learning challenges. This philosophy should pay dividends as our public schools graduate more students who are ready for college or have the skills to succeed in the workplace.
In light of Brown's performance, it should come as no surprise that we are recommending him to voters for re-election.
The unsettled question is which of three Republicans will square off against Brown later: Assembly Member Tim Donnelly of Twin Peaks in San Bernardino County, Orange County investment banker Neel Kashkari or Laguna Hills Mayor Andrew Blount.
Though Kashkari trails in the polls, he is the most-qualified Republican for governor and the best person to challenge Brown in the general election.
Kashkari, a former U.S. Treasury official under President Bush and President Obama, is bright, understands economic policy and knows how to bring people together.
He told the Editorial Board earlier this year that one of his biggest priorities is rebuilding California's middle class. That message should resonate with San Joaquin Valley voters.
Unlike Kashkari, who has raised enough money to mount a statewide campaign, Blount is scuffling to get his word out. Donnelly, meanwhile, has offered few ideas of substance. Earlier this month, he tweeted that Kashkari, a Hindu and the son of immigrants from India, adhered to Shariah law. The comment drew a stinging rebuke from Republican Congressman Darrell Issa, who said "this type of stupidity disqualifies Tim Donnelly from being fit to hold any office, anywhere."
We urge voters to vote for Jerry Brown or Neel Kashkari. They are the top choices for governor.