San Francisco mayor and gubernatorial candidate Gavin Newsom Wednesday threw down the gauntlet to Attorney General Jerry Brown, proposing a series of debates after Brown inched closer Tuesday to officially declaring his candidacy.
The two Democrats are widely believed to be the front-runners in the 2010 primary for governor, though Brown has not yet officially entered the race. He announced the formation of an exploratory committee for governor on Tuesday.
"Our state is in need of real reform -- we have a broken system that must be fixed," Newsom said in a statement released by his campaign Wednesday morning.
"And now that there are two candidates for governor, we owe the Democratic voters of California an opportunity to compare our visions and platforms side-by-side," Newsom said.
Newsom proposed 11 debates in each media market in the state.
Brown, who has for several months come tantalizingly close to announcing his intentions, still was having none of it Wednesday, according to his senior political advisor Steven Glazer.
"As you may know, Attorney General Brown is not a declared candidate for governor," Glazer said in a prepared statement. "While he has processed the paperwork to create an exploratory committee for that office, he is currently focused on doing his job as attorney general -- protecting consumers and prosecuting criminals."
The statement went on to say that should Brown declare his candidacy for governor, "I'm sure he would support the notion of holding debates under terms to be mutually agreed upon by the candidates."