Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom has not exactly been a huge help to Gov. Jerry Brown lately, as Brown tries to persuade voters to approve $6 billion in temporary tax hikes on next week's ballot.
In at least two different interviews with the news media, Newsom has chided Brown, a fellow Democrat, for leaving state university students the impression that their tuition will not go up if Proposition 30 passes. Newsom says that is a promise Brown cannot make.
Newsom says he speaks from inside knowledge. He is a regent for the University of California system.
Newsom, of course, had been a contender for Brown’s job before backing out of the race during the 2010 primary. His comments of late are fueling speculation that he is gearing up to run for governor against Brown in 2014 if Proposition 30 fails next week, throwing Brown’s policy agenda and the state budget into disarray.
A top strategist for Newsom in the last campaign, Garry South, probably didn’t put Brown at ease when he explained to a Sacramento Bee columnist all the reasons the governor could be vulnerable in the next gubernatorial election.
Brown made clear at a campaign event at San Francisco's Commonwealth Club on Thursday that he is not pleased by Newsom’s recent public musings.
Fielding questions from the audience, Brown was asked why he hadn’t requested that Newsom take on more of a role in the campaign. His response was blunt: “That's one of those questions that answers itself.”
-- Anthony York in San Francisco
PHOTO: Former President Bill Clinton, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and Gov. Jerry Brown, when Brown and Newsom were running for their posts. CREDIT: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times.