California Gov. Edmund Brown Jr. may lose federal campaign matching funds because of his failure to get 10 percent of the vote in New Hampshire and his decision to bypass next week's Massachusetts primary.

Under federal law, a presidential candidate who demonstrates his ability to raise substantial campaign contributions gets government subsidies as well.

But those matching funds are cut off if a candidate fails to get 10 percent of the vote in two consecutive primaries -- unless he tells the Federal Election Commission he does not want a contest to count toward his eligibility.

The catch for Brown is that the "don't count this one" declaration must be made in writing 25 business days before a primary.

Brown got only 9.7 percent of the vote in New Hampshire and has declared he will not campaign for the next-up Massachusetts primary Tuesday, where he is on the ballot.

Vermont holds a popularltiy primary -- with no delegates at stake -- also next Tuesday but Brown's name is not on that ballot. He could try for a write-in campaign there.

Under the law, if Brown does not get 10 percent of the vote in Massachusetts or Vermont, he will become ineligible for federal matching funds in early April -- 30 days after the March 4 primaries.

However, if he were to get 20 percent or more of the vote in a primary after Massachusetts his federal funds would be restored.