Easily winning their respective primaries, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom and current Lt. Governor Abel Maldonado will face off in November. California’s Lt. Governor is said to hold little political power in Sacramento, yet, the Lieutenant Governor is chair of the State Lands Commission, sits on the UC Board of Regents and CSU Board of Trustees, and directs the Commission for Economic Development. Perhaps more importantly, however, is this position is first in line to take the reins if something happens to the Governor.
That being said, what will the voters be choosing between in this race?
On the Democratic side is the high-profile, two-term Mayor of San Francisco, Gavin Newsom. In 2003, Newsom became the youngest mayor ever elected in San Francisco history and was re-elected in 2007. After announcing a run for Governor, Newsom decided to take on the Lt. Governor race instead. Perhaps best known for directing the city-county clerk to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, Newsom also has invested heavily in HOPE SF, a project to restore five of the city’s public housing projects, as well as instituting Healthy Choices and bringing universal healthcare to San Francisco.
Newsom has stated that he wants to raise the profile of the Lt. Governor which likely won’t be too difficult given his own notoriety.
On the Republic side is the current Lt. Governor Abel Maldonado. Previously a state senator from Santa Maria, Governor Schwarzenegger appointed Maldonado to the Lt. Governor position last year. Considered a moderate from a swing district, Maldonado is best known for breaking the deadlock in last year’s budget crisis as the only Republican to vote for the budget which included raising taxes, in exchange for placing Proposition 14 on this year’s June primary ballot. On the other hand, Maldonado received a 100 percent rating from the Chamber of Commerce and the California Taxpayer Association.
Maldonado describes himself as an open-minded and pragmatic fiscal conservative, while Newsom touts his small business background and leadership on issues of gay marriage rights and universal health care.
With little written about either candidate and/or the race so far, it will be interesting to see if Newsom is able to mount a competitive campaign that gives Maldonado a run for his money.