Jerry Brown's lively election night celebration took place at the recently renovated Fox Theater in Oakland. Though some media outlets called the race early in the night for Brown, he opted not to declare victory, as Whitman had not yet conceded. But when 11 p.m. rolled around, Brown made this rather anticlimactic announcement:
"Now, they haven't got all the votes in yet but hell, it's good enough for government work - and I think - so it looks like I'm going back again."
During his short, unscripted speech, Brown focused on the difficulty of partisan politics:
"These are real divisions and they're divisions tonight in CA, they'll be divisions in the state capitol, they're the divisions in Washington. So I take as my challenge forging a common purpose but a common purpose based not just on compromise but on a vision of what California can be."
Brown won't be sworn in until January, but has said he wants to get working on the state's fiscal problems right away. I caught him as he made his way through the crowd and asked him how soon he plans to head to Sacramento:
"Oh yeah, I'll be there two weeks from tonight. What's priority number one? Budget."
About half an hour after Brown had given his speech, Whitman - who spent more than 140 million dollars of her own money on the race - conceded.
"It looks like the results are in and it is time now for Californians to unite behind the common cause of turning around this state that we love."
Democratic Senate Leader Darrell Steinberg showed up at Brown's party. He says by electing Brown California voters sent a signal about what they want from their government:
"I think it is very interesting that California is bucking the national trend. I think it sends a message. I don't think our state is interested in the divisive kind of stuff, the tea party stuff that we're seeing around the country. They want a steady hand, they want a problem solver and someone with experience and the depth to solve complicated problems."
Brown served two terms as Governor in the 1970's and 80's. He was single then and joked that this time the real difference would be that now he brings with him a first lady - his wife, Anne Gust.