OAKLAND - Gov. Jerry Brown strolled from his home in the Oakland hills on Tuesday to the fire station where he regularly votes, the heavy favorite not only to finish first in the primary election, but also to win a historic fourth term in November.
This is despite running no visible campaign, an effort so nonchalant that one of Brown's advisers, unable to find a microphone stand, fashioned one from a chest of drawers taken from a "free" pile by a dumpster near the polling place.
Taking his place behind the piece of furniture, Brown said projected low turnout in the primary election may indicate "people are relatively confident and are not troubled by any great challenge or issue." He said it makes no difference which Republican, Tim Donnelly or Neel Kashkari, advances to face him in the runoff election, and he declined to say if he would debate either one of them.
He may not have to. Forty years after he first won election to the governor's office, in 1974, Brown enjoys high public approval ratings and has amassed about $21 million for the general election campaign. He is far ahead in public opinion polls.
Asked about his prospects in November, Brown was circumspect.
"Confidence is a tricky business in politics, because if we've learned anything it's that the future is uncertain, that fortune is fickle, and one kind of goes forward with a certain amount of trepidation. And, yes, everything looks good, but no one knows what tomorrow will bring. There's always issues, there's catastrophes, there's scandals, there's mistakes. So, I'm a bit wary as I do this for the fourth time."
But the general election is five months away. As for the primary, Brown was planning to go hiking on family land outside of Williams, as he has on previous election days, before watching returns in Sacramento.
Brown told reporters, "The fact that you have so few questions, I think indicates the impending result."
PHOTO: Gov. Jerry Brown and his wife, Anne Gust Brown, arrive at the fire station in Oakland where Brown votes on June 3, 2014. The Sacramento Bee/David Siders