OAKLAND - Forty years after he first ran for governor, Jerry Brown, now 75 and with a lifetime of politics behind him, strode into a dimly lit elections office Friday and filed paperwork one more time.
"I just completed the papers to run for re-election," the third-term Democrat told reporters down the hall. "I do so with humility and a realization that there's a great responsibility in the work that lies ahead."
The filing follows months of fundraising and his widely expected announcement the previous day that he would seek re-election to an unprecedented fourth term. Brown is the clear frontrunner in a race against two Republicans in this Democratic-leaning state.
Brown did not mention either of his challengers by name, and he suggested he may not ever - at least not until after the primary election in June.
"No, not yet," Brown said when asked if he had an opinion about the Republicans, Neel Kashkari and Tim Donnelly. "I don't want to comment until, certainly until filing is closed, certainly not until after the primary, and even then we can talk about it."
Brown said wants to keep working on the state budget and on the implementation of education funding and prison policy changes he has overseen during his third term.
"Frankly, I like the work," he said. "I understand what it is."
Brown was joined in Oakland by first lady Anne Gust Brown and his political consultants Ace Smith and Dan Newman, whose company, SCN Strategies, ran Brown's ballot initiative campaign to raise taxes in 2012.
Brown and Earl Warren are the only California governors ever elected to three terms, and Brown, governor before from 1975 to 1983, would be the only one elected to four. Term limits preclude him from running for a fifth term, and he has said he does not plan to run again for president.
But Brown could not say that this would be his final run for office.
"I'm not going to say it's the last race, because there's always some races around," Brown said.
The former secretary of state, attorney general and mayor of Oakland said he gathered signatures for his re-election paperwork at Oakland's city hall, for example, and that it seemed an "exciting place to be."
Unless he loses and runs again, however, this will be Brown's last campaign for governor, a fact he appeared to take with some regret.
"I had the experience of ... walking through the governor's office and realizing the years go by so fast, and pretty soon it's time to leave," Brown said. "I like this kind of work, and I hate to leave."
PHOTO: Gov. Jerry Brown files paperwork for re-election in Oakland on Feb. 28, 2014. The Sacramento Bee/David Siders