Democrats In Close Race for California Governor

A new Public Policy Institute of California poll in California finds Gavin Newsom (D) and Antonio Villaraigosa (D) in a close race among likely voters in the gubernatorial primary, 23% to 21%, with 24% undecided.  Fewer would vote for Democrat John Chiang (9%), Republican Travis Allen (8%), Republican John Cox (7%), Democrat Delaine Eastin (4%), or Republican Doug Ose (3%).

Meanwhile, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) continues to lead Kevin de León (D) in a U.S. Senate primary, 46% to 17%.

Garcetti Won’t Rule Out Bid for Senate or Governor

“Eric Garcetti started the week toying with a 2020 presidential run on a trip to New Hampshire, but the Los Angeles mayor is still keeping his options open for a 2018 run closer to home,” Politico reports.

“That includes next year’s open governor’s race, and possibly a Senate race, should Sen. Dianne Feinstein decide not to seek a fifth term.”

Steyer Expands Focus to Take on Trump

Tom Steyer “will expand the focus of his environmental political advocacy group, NextGen Climate Action, to fund initiatives and candidates with an eye to issues well beyond the realm of climate change,” BuzzFeed reports.

“The 59-year-old Steyer, a San Francisco hedge fund manager and possible contender for next year’s California governor’s race, said he made the decision to broaden his reach in response to Trump and to a legislative agenda he described as ‘deplorable’ and ‘a barrage against the basic fabric of American society.'”

Thiel Mulls Run for California Governor

“Peter Thiel, the Silicon Valley billionaire and outspoken Donald Trump supporter, is considering a 2018 bid for California governor, according to three Republicans familiar with his thinking,” Politico reports.

“Adding fuel to the speculation: Thiel raised eyebrows this week when he granted a rare interview to the New York Times’ Maureen Dowd. In the interview, he outlined his political worldview and explained his support for Trump.(At one point, Thiel said, perhaps jokingly, that he’d be ‘fine’ with California seceding.”

Liberal Mega Donors Look to Run for Governor

“In three major states with a governor’s mansion up for grabs in 2018, a big-name, politically active billionaire or multimillionaire is taking steps toward a run — donors looking to take matters into their own hands after 2016’s gutting losses,” Politico reports.

“In Florida, it’s John Morgan, a wealthy attorney who has long been one of the Democratic Party’s biggest swing-state fundraisers. In Illinois, it’s J.B. Pritzker, the businessman and philanthropist with a history of pumping cash and Chicago political support toward Hillary Clinton. And in California, it’s Tom Steyer, the hedge fund manager-turned climate activist who used the 2014 and 2016 election cycles to become one of the left’s single biggest donors, to the tune of over $140 million. And more may be on the way.”

“It’s an unexpected development that stands to inject new life into the Democratic Party — but it also exposes the lack of clear pipeline for young, rising Democrats after a series of losses, at a time when they are down to just 18 governors across the country, from 29 just eight years ago.”

Villaraigosa Will Run for Governor

Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (D) “began his 2018 bid for governor with a a new website, confirming his entrance into what is expected to be a competitive race,” the Los Angeles Times reports.

“After a three-year hiatus from the political limelight, Villaraigosa joins a heady field of candidates that is expected to grow larger in the months ahead.”

Villaraigosa Laying Groundwork for Governor’s Race

Los Angeles Times: “Antonio Villaraigosa has kept out of the news in the six months since he opted to skip the race for U.S. Senate. But a reception at his Hollywood Hills home on Monday to raise money for Hillary Clinton was the latest of many signs the former Los Angeles mayor is preparing quietly to run for governor of California in 2018.”

Newsom Launches 2018 Campaign for California Governor

California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) announced that he has opened a fundraising account to run for governor in 2018, the Los Angeles Times reports.

“Newsom has long wanted to be governor, and the move – more than three years before the election – is an early shot across the bow at other potential Democratic candidates. By forming a committee, Newsom can raise up to $28,200 per supporter for both the primary and general elections, meaning he can collect $56,400 per donor.”

Newsom’s Power Play

Gavin Newsom’s decision not to run for U.S. Senate in California “capped a furious 72 hours of discussions among the would-be candidates and their advisers over whether to jump at the state’s first open Senate seat in two decades, or hold out for a shot at leading a state that is the world’s eighth-largest economy,” Politico reports.

In announcing his plans, Newsom got out ahead of Kamala Harris “who has told friends that she is also interested in the job of governor. Instead, on Tuesday, she will launch a campaign for Boxer’s seat, knowing that if she hesitated, it would appear that she was reluctant to choose the Senate over the governorship. In doing so, she will circumvent a race against Newsom; it has long been assumed that they would avoid a titanic clash that would leave one of them badly wounded, their hopes for higher office potentially derailed.”

Retouched Schwarzenegger Portrait Scrubs Out Wife

Three months after California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) “unveiled his official Capitol portrait – and its badly scrubbed-out image of his estranged wife – a less splotchy, retouched version of the painting was hung Friday with little fanfare,” the Sacramento Bee reports.

“Less noticeable on the final installment is the area where an image of Maria Shriver’s face on a lapel pin was deleted.”