Jerry Brown will finally step down in November, when he will be 80 years old.
Arnold Schwarzenegger may have had more name recognition globally but Brown, who first became governor in 1975, will go down in history as the more significant political figure.
Brown's tenure as governor of California had a huge gap in the middle — between 1983 and 2011 — and his greatest disappointment was his failure to win the Democratic nomination in 1980.
In that same year another former governor of California, Ronald Reagan, won the Republican nomination and then beat President Jimmy Carter.
Next Governor Likely to be a Democrat
Reagan followed in the footsteps of another famous California Republican — Richard Nixon.
But California nowadays is an overwhelmingly Democratic state and whoever wins the Democratic nomination this spring is almost certainly to become the state's 40th governor in the fall.
Before we look at who is in the running, let's first discuss who is not — George Clooney turned down an offer to run, as did Disney CEO Bob Iger, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and the Mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti.
In January Garcetti was reported to be a 50-1 shot to be the next President in 2020 but he would be the first mayor in US history to go straight to the White House.
The favorites for the nomination would appear to be Gavin Newsom, the slick-haired permatanned Lieutenant Governor and former Mayor of San Francisco, and Antonio Villaraigosa, a former Mayor of Los Angeles whose biggest claim to fame was having an affair with a TV newscaster, Mirthala Salinas, who was 19 years his junior.Albanian-Born Dark Horse
But a far more intriguing candidate is Klement Tinaj, an Albanian-born 28-year-old martial arts artist and actor who has starred in such classics as The Good, The Bad and The Dead, WEAPONiZED and Destruction Los Angeles.
Also in the running is John Chiang, currently the state's treasurer. His parents emigrated from Taiwan and his sister, Joyce, a US government lawyer, was murdered in Washington DC in 1999.
Tinaj would appear to be pinning his hopes on repeating Arnie's trick but comparing the two is a bit like comparing a Hummer and a Trabant.
Travis Allen just WON the California Republican Assembly Endorsement to be the next GOVERNOR OF CALIFORNIA!! The @CRAGOP is CA's oldest and most CONSERVATIVE statewide Republican organization. VOLUNTEER TODAY and join Travis Allen to TAKE BACK CALIFORNIA!! https://t.co/Q4ZJn8WKZk pic.twitter.com/NFrPV0wAdx— Travis Allen (@JoinTravisAllen) 6 March 2018
Brown returned to the governor's mansion in Sacramento in 2011, succeeding the Austrian-born film star, who had taken over the reins of the "golden state" after Gray Davis, who was recalled by voters in 2003.
He remains a totemic figure for Democrats and on Monday, March 12, he tweeted a letter to President Trump in which he said Californians were focused on "bridges, not walls," a dig at the commander-in-chief's much derided policy to make Mexico pay for a giant new frontier barrier.
This is a time to build bridges, not walls; to pull Americans together, not set us apart. pic.twitter.com/YXBPBcLiND— Jerry Brown (@JerryBrownGov) 7 March 2018
In the 2016 presidential election six out of 10 Californians voted for Hillary Clinton. In Los Angeles that figure rose to 71 percent and in San Francisco a whopping 85 percent.
Trump's supporters were mainly in the rural north and east of the state and in January a small group tried to break away and create a New California, which they hoped would become the 51st state.
Made it official and turned in my paperwork today to run for Governor! AND had the honor of the littlest Newsom joining us for the day:) pic.twitter.com/b2XscUCxCC— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) 6 March 2018
After Trump's election many Californians started to talk about breaking away from the US, a so-called Calexit.
Many Californians still want to disassociate themselves from Trump and if he were to get re-elected in 2020 the clamor for the state — which on its own is the sixth largest economy in the world — to secede could become deafening.
Whether Newsom, Villaraigosa or Chiang have what it takes to do a "Catalonia" or to create a Republic of California, like Sam Houston of Texas, who seceded from Mexico during the Battle of the Alamo in 1836, remains to be seen.
@realDonaldTrump let me make this clear: Not now, nor will you ever be welcomed in my NATION of California. Build the wall around us. Let us be independent. We will never bend to your policies. We will not surrender. We will resist. You are NOT our leader. You don't represent us!— RedPagan Nik (@ComradeRedPagan) 12 March 2018