Brown (Cal.)

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The Brown Political Family

Based in: California

Notable Members: Edmund "Pat" Brown Sr., Edmund Jerry Brown Jr.; Kathleen Brown

The Brown political dynasty began in 1958, when little-known Attorney General Pat Brown ran for Governor on the Democratic Party ticket to replace Goodwin Knight. Brown faced off against a political giant, William F. Knowland, the Senate Minority Leader who had come home to run for Governor, an office which he felt would serve his Presidential ambitions better. In one of the biggest upsets in California political history, Brown defeated Knowland, effectively ending the Senator's political career.

In 1962, Brown became a giant-killer again, when former Vice-President and Republican Presidential nominee Richard Nixon challenged him for re-election. Nixon lost by a considerable margin.

Brown's own career ended in 1966, when the California electorate, having become dramatically more conservative in the intervening four years, replaced Brown with Screen Actors' Guild President Ronald Reagan.

His son, Jerry Brown, jumped into politics soon after, first winning election as California's Secretary of State, and then in 1974, winning the Governorship. He was re-elected in 1978. In 1982, he ran for the Senate to replace S.I. Hayakawa, but was defeated by the Republican mayor of San Diego, Pete Wilson.

The younger Brown sought the Democratic nomination for the Presidency in 1976 and 1992, in the latter bid securing the primary votes of 11 states. In 1998, he was elected the mayor of Oakland, California. He was re-elected in 2002. Jerry's sister Kathleen served as California's State Treasurer, and was the Democratic Party's nominee for the Governorship in 1994. She, too, lost to Pete Wilson, who had abandoned the Senate and had been elected Governor in 1990.

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