With Recall Bid in Past, Adams Settles on Hill

Posted March 24, 2004 at 6:21pm

It’s a safe bet that few, if any, Hill staffers could list “former gubernatorial candidate” on their résumé.

But 25-year-old Brooke Adams — who started work this week as Rep. Jennifer Dunn’s (R-Wash.) press secretary and was one of 135 people on the Oct. 7, 2003, ballot to replace then-California Gov. Gray Davis (D) in the recall election — said you won’t find any mention of her whirlwind campaign on her CV.

“It was an experience, not a position held,” explained the University of Southern California Annenberg School for Communication graduate.

“It’s been done, it’s in the past,” Adams added of the recall, which she lost to now-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger by a mere 4,204,571 votes.

Her peculiar background came as a surprise to her future employer, said Dunn Chief of Staff Pierce Scranton.

When Scranton called her for the initial phone interview, he remembers Adams mentioning she had been a candidate.

“I said, ‘Not for governor?’ And she said, ‘Yes.’

“I didn’t know honestly what to make of that other than that she has guts,” added Scranton, who emphasized “it really had nothing to do with the reason that I hired her.”

Adams replaced former Press Secretary Danielle Holland, who left the Dunn team to run media and press for GOP candidate Larry Diedrich’s South Dakota special election effort.

After her recall defeat, Adams said she begin to consider “various positions … in the political realm.”

“I looked at Members that interested me and started applying, and I heard back from Dunn’s office,” she said.

The Dana Point, Calif., native said she learned “a ton” about the media and election process during her brief gubernatorial bid, which she believes will serve her well in her new role.

Prior to arriving on Capitol Hill, Adams worked as a reporter for Los Angeles’ city government cable access channel, as press director for her father John Adams’ 2003 campaign for Orange County Superior Court and as an account executive for an advertising publishing firm before quitting her job last fall to devote herself full-time to seeking the state’s top post because she wanted to be “a voice for younger people” and was concerned about the “downward spiral” of California politics.

With a $3,500 loan from her parents, Adams paid the filing fees, then headed for the hustings, stumping in Sacramento, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Berkeley, Modesto and Bakersfield over the course of her three-month campaign.

All in all, she spent more than $17,000 on the bid, which attracted messages of support from as far away as Ireland and South Africa and is chronicled in a forthcoming independent documentary. Her image even ended up on the cover of a recall wall calendar.

Adams ran as an Independent but comes from a solidly Republican family and said she didn’t have time to change her registration before running under state election regulations. Her father was elected to the court on the GOP ticket, and her grandmother was a financial planner who worked with conservative women’s leadership groups and was active in local Republican Party politics.

But it wasn’t until a couple of months ago that Adams, who was quoted on CNN as saying she was both “pro-choice” and “for homosexual marriage,” officially registered as a Republican.

“I wasn’t promoting pro-choice or gay marriage, it was more about upholding the laws,” explained Adams, referring to her stance on abortion.

Her campaign Web site, www.brookeforgovernor.com, now directs viewers to a new Web site, www.brookeadams.org., which features Adams’ photo and the words “site under development,” but Adams said she has no plans to do anything with the new Internet portal.

And while Adams told the OC Metro magazine after the recall election that she hadn’t ruled out a run for Congress somewhere down the line, she said she isn’t considering any future bids for elected office.

“At present, I’m just focusing on this position,” asserted the former homecoming queen. “There’s a great deal of experience more to be gained.”