Brown waged a non-campaign campaign, using his advantage in the polls to instead spend time and effort trying to win support for two initiatives on the California ballot, one a water bond and the other to establish a rainy day fund.
He was boosted by heavy support from entertainment, including major studio chiefs and Jeffrey Katzenberg, Steven Spielberg and David Geffen. One of Brown’s first reelection fundraisers was at the home of Disney’s Alan Horn in October, 2013. He amassed a war chest of $22 million but spent nothing on election campaign spots, instead typing his paid media to the ballot propositions.
He already was California’s longest serving governor. He served from 1975 to 1983, and made a comback to Sacramento in 2010, when he soundly defeated Republican Meg Whitman.
Brown told reporters outside the governor’s mansion in Sacramento that the “key for the next four years it to make the government do what it’s supposed to.” He said that his administration is “going to go in a very progressive but fiscally responsible direction.”
He suggested that he would use some of the unspent funds from his campaign on ballot initiatives that would be part of his agenda.
Brown, 76, has likely waged his final campaign, and his record fourth term is something that is unlikely to be repeated. Term limits passed in 1990, after his first stint as governor, prohibit candidates from serving more than two terms. But it doesn’t bar any candidate who was in office before then.
California voters soundly passed Proposition 1 and 2, the water bond and rainy day fund backed by Brown. It also looked as if Proposition 47, in which sentences for certain types of nonviolent crimes like drug possession and petty theft, would be reduced to misdemeanors, would pass.
Brown’s victory was a contrast to what looked like a Republican wave in the rest of the country, as Democrats lost control of the Senate, and furthered their minority status in the House. They also lost governorships in Massachusetts and Maryland.
In one of the highly watched local races, Sheila Kuehl, a former state assemblywoman and senator who was an actress on “Dobie Gillis,” held a slight lead in early returns over Bobby Shriver as they vied for a seat on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.