On politics in the Golden State

Category: Gavin Newsom

Gavin Newsom-Abel Maldonado debate: Immigration

In their first debate, California lieutenant governor candidates Gavin Newsom and Abel Maldonado discussed the issue of immigration.

Newsom said "immigration has been the strength of this region." He said immigrants make up "the backbone of this state," and called for the lifting of visa limits for students.

Newsom said Maldonado "supported Prop. 187 and stood side-by-side with Pete Wilson," a charge Maldonado denied.

Maldonado said he opposed Proposition 187, and said his connection to the immigration measure was a personal one. "I am the son of an immigrant field worker," he said.

Maldonado called for a comprehensive federal immigration reform package. He said Newsom's policy of making San Francisco into a so-called sanctuary city has set back the cause of comprehensive reform. "They always point to San Francisco" when making the case against immigration reform, Maldonado said.

-- Anthony York

Abel Maldonado, Gavin Newsom set to debate

Republican Abel Maldonado and Democrat Gavin Newsom will face off at 3 p.m. Thursday in a debate between the two major party candidates for California lieutenant governor.

Maldonado, a former state senator, was appointed to the post by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger earlier this year. He is seeking election to his first full term. Newsom, the mayor of San Francisco, is seeking the job after dropping out of the Democratic race for governor late last year.

The job of lieutenant governor is largely ceremonial, but the "lite gov," as the person holding that post is referred to in Capitol circles, sits on a number of key boards and commissions. Among them are the University of California Board of Regents, the California State University Board of Trustees and the State Lands Commission.

Thursday's debate will be hosted by the Silicon Valley Leadership Group and will be held in Sunnyvale, Calif. PolitiCal will provide live coverage of the debate.

The debate also will stream live online here.

-- Anthony York

First Take: State's largest union strikes pension deal. Budget vote scheduled.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger struck a pension deal with the state's largest public-employee union, paving the way for a vote on the state budget on Thursday. At least that's the plan ...

George Skelton says the state spending proposal is full of gimmicks, but with the budget nearly 100 days overdue, it's time to pass the plan and move on.

Jerry Brown was at a San Francisco fundraiser on Wednesday night, talking about rocket ships, billionaires and housekeepers -- and channeling Tony Montana.

Kate Linthicum looks at Gavin Newsom, Abel Maldonado and their quest for the lieutenant governor's job.

The two candidates will square off in a debate in Sunnyvale at 3 p.m. Thursday. PolitiCal will have full coverage of the debate in real time.

-- Anthony York in Sacramento

Make sure to get all the latest headlines from California politics. Follow PolitiCal on Twitter.

First Take: New poll shows Brown, Boxer with small leads. GOP continues to struggle with Latino voters

A new Los Angeles Times/USC poll shows Democrats Jerry Brown and Barbara Boxer with narrow leads over their Republican opponents.

Consultants for Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina both contested the methodology of the survey.

The poll also found both Democrats with a big lead among Latino voters.

The race for lieutenant governor is also close, according to a new Field Poll. And the first ad of the campaign suggests a nasty race for the remaining five weeks.

Tuesday is the first debate between Brown and Whitman. Be sure to stay tuned to PolitiCal for live blogging during the debate and analysis immediately following.

-- Anthony York

You can also follow PolitiCal on Twitter.

Clinton brushes off Brown jab, says Whitman has made him 'a household face again'

Former President Bill Clinton said he understood the frustration that led Jerry Brown to make a joke about Clinton's dalliance with a White House intern and said that any lingering tension with Brown from their 1992 presidential primary has long been forgotten.

Brown was irritated by a Meg Whitman attack ad that uses 1992 footage of Clinton assailing Brown during a presidential primary debate, and lashed out, Clinton said.

"This Meg Whitman ad really got under his skin but I understand why -- it's a devastatingly good ad, if it had been accurate … but it wasn't, so I decided I should put out a statement," Clinton said. "Then I heard about the press conference. I've known him 34 years, I knew exactly what happened. I'm not young, he's a couple years older than I am, and he was tired and frustrated and he said something he regretted and the next day went out and apologized for it. I've reached the point now where I just don't care about that stuff anymore."

Clinton was referring to Brown's remarks last week where he called Clinton a liar and made reference to the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Brown apologized Monday and Clinton endorsed him Tuesday.

Clinton made his remarks in an interview about the Clinton Global Initiative's annual meeting with Yahoo! News and the Huffington Post.

The former president seemed bemused by his appearance in the 30-second Whitman ad, which remains on heavy rotation on California television stations.

"Unbelievable," Clinton said. "Meg Whitman made me a household face again and my younger self, too, which I'm very grateful for."

Clinton, who will visit California in October to stump for Brown and Lt. Gov. nominee Gavin Newsom, said he planned to help Brown all along and that rumors about continuing hostility from his 1992 presidential primary battle with Brown are simply wrong.

"We buried that campaign hatchet years ago," Clinton said.

His endorsement of Newsom in the gubernatorial primary, which many in the chattering classes cite as evidence of his disdain for Brown, is misunderstood, Clinton said.

"Gavin Newsom I believe is one of the most innovative and accomplished mayors in America, one of a handful. And I believe that there aren't more than a handful of people who worked harder for Hillary [in her 2008 presidential run] than he did, so I owed him," Clinton said. "It wasn't anything against Jerry Brown."

Clinton said he is backing Brown because he believes the former two-term governor's combination of innovation and fiscal restraint make him the best candidate to govern California. He again praised Brown's work as attorney general and Oakland mayor, though, as in his endorsement statement, he did not mention Brown's prior two terms as governor.

-- Seema Mehta in Los Angeles

Jerry Brown, trying to defend his record, trashes Bill Clinton [Updated]

Jerry Brown has spent much of his race for governor assaulting the character of his Republican rival Meg Whitman. But now, in a jaw-dropping bit of rhetoric, he's extended his criticism to a former Democratic president, Bill Clinton. And he did so by referring obliquely to Clinton's dalliance with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

“Meg Whitman. She stops at nothing. She's even got Clinton lying about me. That's right. No, did you see that? Where he said I raised taxes. It's a lie,” he told a crowd at an East Los Angeles event Sunday. “… I mean Clinton's a nice guy but whoever said he always told the truth? You remember, right? There's that whole story there about did he or didn't he. OK, I did… I did not have taxes with this state.”

The last line was a play on Clinton’s defense against the brewing scandal in early 1998 that he had a relationship with Lewinsky. At the time, Clinton asserted, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman.” Clinton subsequently admitted to an improper relationship with her and faced impeachment proceedings.

[Updated at 3:04 p.m.: Brown apologized at a hastily called news conference. "Bill Clinton was an excellent president. It was wrong for me to joke about an incident from many years ago, and I’m sorry," Brown said before attempting to steer the discussion back to questions about Whitman's honesty.

"She hasn’t told the truth about my record as governor. She hasn’t told the truth about my record as mayor. She hasn’t even told the truth about her own record," Brown said. "I’ve made my share of mistakes, and my inappropriate joke about President Clinton is one of them. But from me you’ll always get the truth."]

Brown and Clinton have a tense history because of the 1992 presidential primaries, during which they  tangled as they vied for the nomination. After Clinton racked up enough delegates for the nomination, Brown declined to endorse him at the party’s convention. Last year, Clinton returned the favor by endorsing Gavin Newsom in the California Democratic gubernatorial primary. Newsom quickly dropped out because he couldn't raise enough money to compete with Brown, a fixture on the California political scene for four decades.

Clinton became an issue in the gubernatorial contest last week, when Whitman began airing a 30-second television ad that features 1992 footage of Clinton, then a presidential candidate, trying to refute Brown's claim that he lowered taxes as governor. The video came from a Democratic primary debate that featured both men.

"CNN. Not me, CNN says his assertion about his tax record was, quote, just plain wrong," Clinton says in the ad. "He raised taxes as governor of California…. He doesn't tell the people the truth."

As the Times reported Friday night, the CNN report was based on erroneous data.

The Brown campaign has called on Whitman to take down the ad; the Whitman campaign has refused, saying it remains factually correct because taxes on average did go up during Brown’s tenure as governor from 1975 to 1983.

-- Seema Mehta in Los Angeles

Newsom warming up for lieutenant governor's gig?

Gavin Newsom seems to have this lieutenant governor stuff down. The Democratic nominee for the job, who is now the mayor of San Francisco, issued a news release Monday declaring it "Soda-Free Summer" in San Francisco.

Newsom is running for a job that has become a punch line of sorts because of its relative lack of power. The lieutenant governor serves on a number of state boards and commissions, but the powers of the office are weak compared with the state's other constitutional offices. Newsom will face off against Republican incumbent Abel Maldonado in November.

One thing holders of the office have learned is that it can be used to advance pet causes. Promoting healthy drinks appears to be one of Newsom's.

“San Francisco has some of the best water in the world,” Newsom said in a statement from the mayor's office Monday. “Grab a reusable bottle, and fill it up. You’re being good to your body, your pocketbook and the environment all at once.”

-- Anthony York

California election results: For Whitman, Brown and others, general election season opens Wednesday

Democrats and Republicans begin squaring off Wednesday as general election season opens in California following hard-fought primary contests – particularly in the GOP – that were finally settled Tuesday.

Republicans gather at 9:30 a.m. at the Hilton in Anaheim for what was billed as a unity breakfast, then expanded to a full-fledged rally. They hope to bring Republicans together behind a slate led by Meg Whitman, the ex-EBay chief who won her party's nod to run for governor against Democratic Atty. Gen Jerry Brown, and Senate candidate Carly Fiorina, the former head of Hewlett-Packard, who will take on Sen. Barbara Boxer.

Other Republicans expected include Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley, who is running for attorney general against Democratic San Francisco Dist. Atty. Kamala Harris, and Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado, who was appointed to fill a vacancy by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and is trying to win a full term against San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, a Democrat.

"All the statewide nominees will be there," said Mark Standriff, the California Republican Party's communications director.

At 9 a.m. the California Nurses Assn., which is working to elect Democrats, will take its "Queen Meg" road show, in which a character costumed as Whitman appears outside events attended by the actual Whitman, a billionaire, to a protest at the hotel. The nurses will introduce a new character.

While the actual Whitman will be "sequestered with insiders," the nurses said in news release, "The beloved Queen Meg of California will mingle with Her public and announce a friendly merger and co-campaign with her fellow Royal CEO, the Princess Carly of California."

Meanwhile, Brown, who easily bested his nominal primary opposition, is scheduled to make what his campaign characterizes as a surprise announcement about the campaign at 10 a.m. at the Los Angeles Athletic Club Hotel.

The Democratic slate is putting together a rally of its own in Fremont on Thursday, when Whitman, who lives in Atherton, appears in Northern California for a "welcome home" event in San Jose.

The campaigns should ramp up in the days ahead. Declaring "Game on" in a news release, Boxer, who also easily beat low-profile primary opponents, announced two new sections on her website aimed at Fiorina after the results rolled in Tuesday night.

One is called "Setting the Record Straight," to dispute the Republican's attacks on her, and the other, "Fiorina Facts," apparently to level attacks of Boxer's own.

--Michael Rothfeld in Sacramento

Gavin Newsom wins Democratic primary for lieutenant governor

San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom. Credit: Getty Images San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom defeated Los Angeles Councilwoman Janice Hahn in the Democratic race for lieutenant governor.

Newsom, 43, who was a candidate for governor until dropping out of the race in November, was a late entrant into the lieutenant governor's race.

He made national headlines in 2004 when he authorized marriage licenses for gay and lesbian couples. The state Supreme Court eventually authorized same-sex unions, but that law was overturned when voters passed Proposition 8 in 2008.

Hahn conceded to Newsom on Tuesday night.

-- Anthony York in Los Angeles

Photo: San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom. Credit: Getty Images

Harris, Cooley hold early leads in attorney general's race

Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley, a Republican, and San Francisco Dist. Atty. Kamala Harris, a Democrat, are leading their parties' races for attorney general.

With 11.7% of the vote reported, Harris held a 30% to 19% lead over former Facebook privacy officer Chris Kelly. Cooley had more than 52% of his party's early vote.

In the race for lieutenant governor, newly appointed incumbent Abel Maldonado is ahead on the Republican side, and San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom holds a lead over Los Angeles Councilwoman Janice Hahn on the Democratic side.


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