Commentary: Jerry Brown is back with baggage in tow

A few hours after California voters decisively rejected Jerry Brown's bid for the U.S. Senate in 1982, the two-term governor delivered a characteristically enigmatic response.

One widely quoted reaction was, "I believe the people of California would like a respite from me, and in some ways I would like a respite from them."

Another passage, widely ignored, was, "I believe there is room for my ideas and my voice. I shall return. … After a period of time, my services will be available in some interesting capacity."

More than a quarter-century later – having served as state Democratic chairman, run for president (for the third time), hosted a radio talk show, survived two terms as Oakland's mayor and persuaded voters to elect him attorney general – Brown is back in the spotlight as the only Democratic candidate for governor.

Brown was the state's youngest-ever governor when elected in 1974, just 36, but is no longer a wunderkind. He will turn 72 next month and, if elected in November, will be the state's oldest-ever chief executive.

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