Gov. Jerry Brown's three presidential campaigns shared a common theme: He was the underdog waging a grass-roots insurgency. They also were seen as similarly disorganized undertakings and generally did not get great reviews from the press. The Times reported Brown's gubernatorial staff presented his scheduler with a joke "Pulitzer Prize for Fiction" plaque because Brown never stuck to a timetable for his appointments and appearances.
The campaign: Just a year in office as governor, Brown announced he would run for president in the California primary with a "new philosophy committed to human beings." He ended up entering several late primaries. The Times reported he emerged as a "genuine, bona fide media star. A celebrity. The California pop politician."
The end: Jimmy Carter got the nomination. But Brown retained cachet as a Democratic leader of the future.
The campaign: From the beginning, there were doubts Brown stood much of a chance. By then, he was well known — but not necessarily for the sort of headlines presidential candidates like. Some wondered whether his new-age rhetoric and tabloid-fodder relationship with singer Linda Ronstadt would play outside of California. At the time, one political operative said the Brown of the presidential contest four years earlier had been a "unique young man from the West.... Now, the mystery is gone."
The end: Brown's challenge to Jimmy Carter's renomination sputtered, with Edward Kennedy emerging as the president's main rival.
The campaign: Brown was still an underdog, but he competed seriously against Bill Clinton in several state primaries. Again, the endeavor had a rocky start. "Seven months into his campaign, Brown's effort has come to resemble not so much a march to the White House as a journey to the intersection of chaos and pathos," The Times wrote.