SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – Gov. Jerry Brown made history Tuesday night after claiming a fourth term as California governor.
The 76-year-old incumbent Democrat never appeared to be threatened by Neel Kashkari, a Republican making his first run for elected office.
Brown, already California’s longest-serving governor, served two terms in the office from January 1975 to January 1983 before it was subjected to term limits. He was elected to the state’s highest office again in 2010, his third term. No governor in the state’s history has served four terms.
A career politician, he also ran for president three times and has served as state attorney general, secretary of state, and mayor of Oakland.
Brown, the nation’s oldest sitting governor, began his first term as governor when Gerald Ford was in the White House.
The nation’s most populous state with more than 38 million people has long-term problems that include a looming government pension crisis and troubled public school and water-supply systems.
Brown, however, kept his campaign anchored to an optimistic narrative that featured the state’s now-balanced budget and job growth since the recession. The Democratic-controlled Legislature approved Brown’s plans to send more money to high-need schools and restructure sentencing laws to allow lower-level offenders to go to county jails instead of state lock-ups.
“A lot of people forget the mess that California was in just four years ago,” Brown said in the campaign’s only debate. “All the jobs we lost in the recession, from the Wall Street meltdown, we’ve got back.”
With a strong lead in the race, he has rarely updated his website. He has spent most of the campaign promoting two ballot proposals that call for borrowing billions of dollars for a variety of water projects and for funneling more money into budget reserves. The rainy day fund would help pay down billions in pension obligations and other debt and provide a larger cushion against future economic slides.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.
(Copyright 2014, KRON 4, All rights reserved.)