The campaign began quietly with the release of a new television ad, followed by a midday rally Monday with Bay Area Democrats in Pleasanton. But none of this has offered voters more than a cursory nod to his GOP challenger, Neel Kashkari.
The TV ad itself is virtually indistinguishable from the ads he's recently released in support of Proposition 1 and Proposition 2 on next week's ballot.
"We've made tremendous progress," says Brown to the camera, before pivoting to the virtues of the water bond and budget reserve measures on which he's relied for political PR these past few weeks. His noontime rally, though, suggested there won't be much more than this over the final few days of the 2014 election.
"When you run for a fourth term, it's not like you’re running for your first or your second term," Brown told reporters. "I'm very well-known."
From a pure political strategy perspective, there's been no real reason for Jerry Brown to do more than he's done. He's amassed four times more money than Kashkari (who actually spent most of even that money vying against another Republican for the second of the two top in the June primary). He's also consistently held a double-digit lead in the polls, with the latest poll last week pegging his lead at 16 points.
Kashkari has launched a fusillade of smaller attacks at Brown over the past few weeks on the issue of teacher tenure -- pegged to the governor's decision to appeal a Los Angeles judge's summertime ruling that California's generous tenure rules have helped create a system that sticks kids in low-income communities with the worst teachers. As we reported on Monday on The California Report, the Vergara v. California ruling has found its way into a number of closely watched races this fall. But Kashkari's lack of money to really hammer home the issue in a blitz of TV ads has allowed Brown to sidestep the substance of the issue altogether.
It's also worth noting that Brown's final-week blitz across California comes after a lot of voters have already cast their ballots. Calculations from the firm Political Data Inc. show more than 1.3 million Californians had already voted by the time the governor started telling them why he wants another four years.
And so, try as the challenger might and as relevant as some of the issues he's raised really are, it's unlikely that there will be much history made in the 2014 battle for governor of California.
Just consider Brown's take on the race, not terribly uplifting but also probably true, when speaking to reporters in Pleasanton on Monday afternoon:
"I've laid markers in the ground that people can look at. If they don't like it, then they don’t vote for me. They like it? They vote for me. If they don't care, they probably don't vote."