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Jerry Brown Enjoys Comfortable Lead in California Gubernatorial Race

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Gov. Jerry Brown responds to a question concerning his proposed 2014-15 state budget he unveiled at a news conference at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif., Thursday Jan. 9, 2014. A robust economic recovery and surging revenue propelled by voter-approved tax increases has sent California's general fund spending to a record high, marking a dramatic turn-around for the state. With the an increase in tax receipts, Brown is proposing a spending plan that includes a 8.5 percent increase in general fu | ASSOCIATED PRESS

California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) enjoys a large lead over his Republican challenger Neel Kashkari, a Field Poll released Wednesday shows.

Brown has a 20-point advantage, 52 to 32 percent, over the GOP newcomer, with whom many voters remain unfamiliar.

“Most people know Brown, have an opinion. It’s largely favorable,” Field Poll Director Mark DiCamillo told the Sacramento Bee of the popular governor.

The Field Poll showed that only 44 percent of those surveyed could offer a positive or negative appraisal of Kashkari, while nearly twice as many could do so for Brown.

“Kashkari is just not well known,” DiCamillo continued. “He’s got a long way to go to kind of introduce himself to voters, and that’s what’s going to be the task ahead of him in the next couple of months.”

While a victory over Brown could be a longshot, Kashkari’s campaign represents an opportunity for Republicans to stake out more moderate territory and appeal to a wider cross section of voters in a state in which the party has been steadily losing support.

"The new Republican Party that I want to build is the diverse Republican Party,” Kashkari told the gay group Log Cabin Republicans while campaigning for the nomination against tea party candidate Tim Donnelly. “Every ethnicity, every sexual orientation, every lifestyle, everyone is welcome. The biggest tent you've ever seen in your life."

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