Governor Jerry Brown seems to enjoy breaking records. In 1975, he became the youngest person to lead the Golden State, and after three failed runs for the presidency and two terms as Oakland’s mayor, Mr. Brown returned to the job in 2011 as the oldest governor. With the start of his campaign last Thursday for an unprecedented fourth term—a victory that seems all but guaranteed—he could break another record: if he wins, he will become the state’s longest-serving governor. “I’ve lived here my whole life,” Mr. Brown said in a statement. “I love this state and I will do my utmost to enable California to keep faith with its past and pave the way for a future as bold as our forebears would expect.” With a self-described “insider’s knowledge but an outsider’s mind,” the 75-year-old Democrat has earned a reputation as an eccentric yet pragmatic statesman who has shown his preference for efficiency over ideology in his leadership on the budget, public employee pension reform and immigrant rights. Mr. Brown’s announcement was not unexpected: he has already accumulated $17 million in campaign cash for a race against two little-known Republicans. Neel Kashkari, a former United States Treasury official who lives in Orange County, criticized the governor for neglecting jobs and education while he “focused on a $67 billion vanity project,” the “crazy train.” Assemblyman Tim Donnelly is also seeking Mr. Brown’s job. A resident of the San Bernardino Mountains, he is a “patriot,” “liberty lover” and founder of California’s largest Minuteman chapter, which aims to secure the border. “Any bill sent to my desk growing government and regulations will be stamped with a big fat veto,” Mr. Donnelly said in a statement. In the last election against Republican challenger Meg Whitman, Mr. Brown won by a 42-point margin in Marin County. In last week’s campaign kick-off, Mr. Brown stressed environmental stewardship, citing climate change and the drought as examples of the dire need to invest in renewable resources, high-speed rail and electric and low-emission vehicles, as well as to create sustainable water policies.