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Gavin Newsom Drops Out of Governor's Race

by: Robert Cruickshank

Fri Oct 30, 2009 at 15:07:41 PM PDT

Wow. Statement sent via email:

It is with great regret I announce today that I am withdrawing from the race for governor of California. With a young family and responsibilities at city hall, I have found it impossible to commit the time required to complete this effort the way it needs to and should be done.

This is not an easy decision. But it is one made with the best intentions for my wife, my daughter, the residents of the city and county of San Francisco, and California Democrats.

When I embarked on this campaign in April, my goal was to engage thousands and thousands of Californians dedicated to reforming our broken system and bringing change to Sacramento.

I would like to thank those supporters, volunteers, and donors who have worked so hard on my behalf. I have been humbled by their support and am indebted to their efforts. They represent the spirit of change and determination essential to putting California back on the right track.

I will continue to fight for change and the causes and issues for which I care deeply - universal health care, a cleaner environment, and a green economy for our families, better education for our children, and, of course, equal rights under the law for all citizens.

My quick take: Someone else has to jump in the race. There's no reason to believe anyone else will, or that Dianne Feinstein will. But neither California Democrats, the people of this state, or even Jerry Brown will be served well by an uncontested primary. There are a lot of issues that need to be discussed in this race, and a competitive primary can only produce a stronger candidate (well, as long as it doesn't turn into a ridiculous mudfest like 2006).

UPDATE by Robert: Matier & Ross and Carla Marinucci cite money woes and "lack of momentum" as reasons for quitting.

...and Evan Halper at the LA Times offers this take:

Although Newsom had been effectively running for more than a year, his campaign never gained much traction. Even in his hometown, which Newsom touted as a model of cutting-edge policies, his candidacy was widely derided among civic insiders.

Perhaps most telling was the absence of support from the major San Francisco donors who helped underwrite Newsom's successful campaigns in the city. He also drew relatively few endorsements from the ranks of his fellow elected officials.

Newsom had repeatedly told those close to him that he did not want to embarrass himself in the governor's race.

Robert Cruickshank :: Gavin Newsom Drops Out of Governor's Race
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Wow. Was just about to post. (5.00 / 1)
Are we going to get any alternatives now?

I guess this is one way not to have a grueling primary...

How about former State Senator Sheila Kuehl? (0.00 / 0)
~ She led the way for single-payer healthcare in California
~ First woman in state history to be Speaker pro Tempore of the Assembly
~ Consistently considered smartest member in Legislature
~ Civil rights attorney and law professor at Loyola, UCLA and USC Law Schools


In her fourteen years in the State Legislature, Sen. Kuehl authored 171 bills that were signed into law, including legislation to establish paid family leave, establish the rights contained in Roe vs. Wade in California statute, overhaul California's child support services system; establish nurse to patient ratios in every hospital; require that housing developments of more than 500 units have identified sources of water; further protect domestic violence victims and their children; prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender and disability in the workplace and sexual orientation in education; increase the rights of crime victims; safeguard the environment and drinking water; and many, many others.  Beginning in 2003, she led the fight in the legislature to achieve true universal health care in California, and, in 2006, and again in 2008, brought SB 840, the California Universal Healthcare Act,  to the Governor's desk, the first time in U.S. history a single-payer healthcare bill had gone so far. Undaunted by its veto both times, Senator Kuehl is continuing to work with advocates statewide and nationally to bring universal, affordable, quality health care to all Californians.


[ Parent ]
kuehl would be great (0.00 / 0)
how is she at campaigning?

[ Parent ]
I hadn't been all that excited about Newsom (4.75 / 4)
But I'm so much less excited about Jerry Brown. This is depressing.

Yeah (4.75 / 4)
Brown isn't yet willing to break from the 1978 school of governance. We need someone willing to challenge him and force him to do something other than defend the status quo.

You can check out any time you like but you can never leave

[ Parent ]
newsom (5.00 / 1)
Truly depressing.

[ Parent ]
so depressing (8.00 / 1)
I really wish we could draft Kamala.

Politics is the strong and slow boring of hard boards.

I'm all for it (0.00 / 0)
It'd be great to have her in the race.

You can check out any time you like but you can never leave

[ Parent ]
um NO (0.00 / 0)
um, NO.

No, no no no no.


[ Parent ]
Jackie Speier for California (5.00 / 4)

Works for me too (0.00 / 0)
Jackie Speier was an excellent legislator and a good progressive. She'd be a welcome entrant to the race.

You can check out any time you like but you can never leave

[ Parent ]
See (0.00 / 0)
Now that is the kind of suggestion where my gut reaction is "ooh, that's a neat idea".

[ Parent ]
Alternatives, please (5.00 / 1)
Our party needs a healthy debate about the future before engaging the wingnut GOP choice.  Will someone please run?

Van Jones? (5.00 / 1)
he's not busy :)

[ Parent ]
Bring. It. On. (0.00 / 0)
He would make an excellent candidate.

You can check out any time you like but you can never leave

[ Parent ]
Well, it would be fun anyway n/t (0.00 / 0)

I think?

[ Parent ]
seriously (0.00 / 0)
i was half-kidding because i imagine he's enjoying not being under the spotlight for now. but i'd be jazzed if he did run. that's the kind of coalition we need to build, the issues he's always pressed are important, and it sure seems like it would be a break from business as usual.

i sure hope that somebody decent does get in to the race. we used to be the future here in California. maybe we still are, and if it's where we are now, that's pretty depressing. it's time to stop trying to tune up the old Plymouth.  

[ Parent ]
hell yes. (0.00 / 0)
at least we'd have an open discussion of the matters of the day.  

[ Parent ]
Antonio Villaraigosa anyone? (0.00 / 0)
What about Mayor Villaraigosa, i know he ruled it out earlier but things have changed and he could raise some serious cash and is a good progressive

[ Parent ]
I am wondering the same thing (0.00 / 0)
He announced he wasn't going to run back in the spring, saying he wants to "get an A+ in being mayor." My bet is he takes another look at this, but will stick with his original decision to pass on the race.

You can check out any time you like but you can never leave

[ Parent ]
I hope Villaraigosa doesn't (8.00 / 1)
He has "good progressive" policy platforms and speeches.  But he doesn't govern like a progressive.  His administration is of the pay-to-play variety.  

He steamrolls what he wants into action without community input (e.g., the "schools takeover" was a substantively empty and a process disaster; the "Pico/Olympic" one way street plan was nicked from others (...Zev), then morphed into something disastrous and poorly thought out by the community, and then it was thrown out in court because he tried to impose it without proper community hearings and input).  

He loses focus on his great policy prescriptions in favor of fundraising, selfpromotion and the like.  I don't see him facing the state down and changing the structure of our government . . .

I'd like "someone like him" . .. but please not Him.

[ Parent ]
Oh screw him... (0.00 / 0)
...Villaraigosa makes Arnold Schwarzenegger look competent. He's an opportunistic douche. If he pulls off getting the federal funding to accelerate the Measure R plan then maybe I'll give him a better grade. So far, however, Philip Anschutz is the real "mayor" of Los Angeles and AEG the real City Council, because our real elected representatives are spineless and feckless.

[ Parent ]
If Feinstein runs (0.00 / 0)
Then does this mean she resigns from Congress?

[ Parent ]
Not immediately (6.50 / 4)
If - and that's a BIG if, since she has not given any indication she'd run - then she wouldn't have to resign her seat until after she got sworn in as governor. She could appoint her own successor, as Pete Wilson did in 1991 when he picked John Seymour to succeed him when he switched from Senate to the governor's office.

Seymour, an OC Republican, went before voters in 1992, and was defeated by...Dianne Feinstein.

You can check out any time you like but you can never leave

[ Parent ]
ggh (4.00 / 1)
I have to admit my first response is a sense of relief. Newsom hits all my ideological buttons but I've never really been able to tell if there is any substance there. Nobody I hear from who lives in SF seems to particularly like him. I was not really looking forward to having to make a hard decision on whether to trust him or not.

Now that it looks like it's happening though I am not really looking forward to a certain Brown candidacy either. I admittedly don't know much about him-- I have only lived in CA a few years. But just in a gut reaction it seems like the California state government needs drastic change and innovative Democratic leadership, and it is unclear to me how bringing back the Governor from 1983 provides that. I'm pretty sure I could be convinced Brown is a great candidate and worthy of support, but nobody in the months since Brown announced his candidacy has seemed really interested in doing that convincing-- including Brown himself. For example, check out the "issues" page on Brown's campaign site. There isn't one. There is a "fighting for you" page describing some of the things he's done as attorney general? I have no sense of what he'd do as governor, except not be Meg Whitman.

Where does Brown stand on a constitutional convention and/or a frontal attack on prop. 13? Or anything? I don't know, I need to know where to find out.

surprised only at the timing (8.00 / 1)
I'm surprised only at the timing. For all the hype, the showboaty press conferences, and the lying, he might have gotten a pass from a complacent media. The problem is that he can't raise money, and won't. And his record as Mayor would not have played well anywhere in CA, not even SF.

I'm a bit weary of the deriding of Jerry Brown because he was in politics before 2003. He's far more perceptive of what's coming, and always has. Re-watch some of his speeches from past campaigns and he's very smart. Now, is he the best candidate? I dunno.

But at this point you can't fight something with nothing and all the wishing in the world won't make "Another Candidate" appear. Yes there is an opportunity but it needs to happen soon, and a half-assed hippie dippie liberal campaign won't cut it. Did we not learn anything from 2006 and 2008?


Clearly you just don't get our 'post-partisan' era... (0.00 / 0)
...Jerry Brown, a guy who can kick some serious rhetorical ass, just don't cut it with our 'modern democratic party...' folks.

I clearly remember a conversation at The Bottom of the Hill with a redhot 'progressive' dude who was excited about the coming changes in CA and nationally. This was back in 2007. He was very confused when I started talking about windmills Sim van der Ryn and Jerry. He didn't know why there were windmills at Altamont. Didn't know who Sim was and...

....had never heard of Jerry Brown.

I dunno...

Can we create real progressive change if nobody knows an state history?

Jerry on his worst day, and he like all humans has 'em, is a better friend to the average citizen than stuffed shirts and artificially created solons such and Ahnuld or Obama will ever be.

[ Parent ]
my objection to brown isn't because he's old (5.00 / 4)
it's because he helped pass prop 13, and still defends it, and has become a generally moderate democrat in his current avatar as crime fightin' oakland mayor and AG.

we're at a moment when we need someone willing to take on not only the GOP but the whole paradigm of post-78 prop. 13 state governance, and i don;'t see jerry doing that at the moment. he's misreading the historical moment right now, from what i can tell.

that being said, i'm glad to see newsom out of the race, as he was only superficially progressive anyways, policy-wise or tempermentally.  

[ Parent ]
? (0.00 / 0)
He didn't help pass Proposition 13, that's not accurate. He had an alternative proposal which is similar to a lot of the reforms suggested today.

Brown isn't my ideal candidate, but a lot of the criticisms of him come from GOP talking points that were to some extent recycled by Clintonites.

[ Parent ]
Thank you (0.00 / 0)
If I were to pick the Perfect Governor of California, it wouldn't be Brown.  But I fail to understand why people are acting like he's the scariest thing to come to California since the 1906 Earthquake and Fire.  I am not convinced he's an evil corporate shill, and while I agree that a contested primary would've been nicer, I don't feel like I'd have to hold my nose to vote for Brown.  The guy may not be Mark Leno or Dennis Kucinich, but he's certainly not Joe Lieberman or Max Baucus either.  I've had a lot of wailing about how he's too conservative, but only rarely seen links to actual positions he's taken that I should be constructively concerned about.

Frankly, the more I hear, the less I care about this election.  It kind of reminds me of the wailing going on at DailyKos every day (a blog which I used to have on RSS), where people act like the world is ending because Obama hasn't already fixed all of pet issues X, Y and Z.  Legislation and politics are called sausage making for a reason - it's an ugly, brutal process, but at the end of the day you get things like the health care bill that's probably about to pass - it's not what I would've wanted had I been appointed Supreme Leader, but compared to where we were at this time last year, I'll take it and call it an amazing success.  It's a marathon, not a sprint.

Same goes for Brown.  I would've wanted a true Progressive to win, but I'll take Brown over any of the GOP candidates, any day.

Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good here, people.

[ Parent ]
One Down, One to Go... (6.50 / 2)
Can we get a real Democrat to run now?

What are people's thoughts about (5.00 / 1)
Robert Reich? He's a solid progressive, knows his stuff, has great connections, has incredible name recognition, and is highly respected (both Time's Top Ten Cabinet Members of the Century and Wall Street Journal's Top Ten American Business Thinkers).

His only negative is that he ran a few years ago in Massachusetts but he's been living in Berkeley for the past few years and I don't think most Californians would care at all.

What your comments show me (8.00 / 1)
Is that most Democrats are not really very excited about most of the people who have declared. The one advantage a candidate has who has never held office is that they don't have a record of governing. That can come back to haunt you (appropriate Halloween reference here).

However, the downside is lack of name recognition. That's why the GOP recruits "stars"--either from film or industry. They also have the advantage of their own money to put in the race.

Given the lack of excitement for the Democratic candidates exhibited here, the Democrats would have to outspend the Republicans by a lot to overcome this. Especially if Brown keeps acting out on CNBC.

The people who remember him think he's getting more conservative. The people who don't will just think he's crazy.

Recruiting somebody we'd like to support would go a long way toward erasing all these problems. However, I think it has to be somebody who is willing to give up what they're doing now. Or somebody who is termed out. Heaven knows we have enough of those. What's Sheila Kuehl doing these days?  

I'm all for new blood (5.00 / 1)
I'm looking for a Democratic candidate who believes in the values of the Democratic Party, and is willing to fight for them against the wingnuts of the opposition.  Unfortunately, that description wipes out most of the current and former leaders in Sacramento.

[ Parent ]
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