With the 2012 election coming to a close in less than a week, California voters are already anticipating the 2014 races. The current incumbent governor, Jerry Brown, has lost much of his footing with California voters and the greater Democratic party. Many political pundits and critics expect that Brown will not seek reelection in 2014. In his absence, a number of politicians have expressed tentative interest in running for California Governor in 2014, with a least five candidates already eying the position.
Antonio Villaraigosa (D)
As the mayor of the largest city in California, many expect Villaraigosa to run for a more executive seat. He has also expressed an interest in the position, and has already established a campaign. The Los Angeles Mayor will relinquish his current office in 2013 due to term limitations. This would allow him a one year window to campaign for the gubernatorial race in 2014. Villaraigosa held a number of leadership roles within the Democratic party, and worked closely with the Obama campaign during the 2012 presidential election. With friends in high places, Villaraigosa has already stepped into the spotlight as one of the front runners for the 2014 gubernatorial race.
Gavin Newsom (D)
Perhaps the most obvious potential candidate for governor is Gavin Newsom, the current Lieutenant Governor of California. He began his political career as a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors in 2000, and quickly climbed the political ladder by way of the San Francisco mayoral office. He was elected to his current position in Sacramento in January 2011. Newsom would only run should Brown decline to run again in 2014, and has already established a committee to run for re-election of his current position. However, given Brown's lack of support and overall voter disenchantment, Newsom may step into the race with a glowing endorsement from the previous governor.
Kevin McCarthy (R)
Currently the Congressman for California's 22nd district, Kevin McCarthy, has made a name for himself in the conservative Republican crowd. He also serves as the Majority Whip, and has taken a number of leadership and planning positions within the GOP. He recently established a committee to run for Lieutenant Governor, but many believe that he will pursue the higher seat. McCarthy would likely draw support from Tea Party voters, and may be able to rally the greater Republican voter base for his campaign in 2014.
Kamala Harris (D)
Harris is the Attorney General of California, and a possible Democratic candidate for the gubernatorial seat in 2014. She has garnered strong support from local unions, and from LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Harris and Villaraigosa have often campaigned together on issues facing Californian Democrats. Their history together could also indicate a Lieutenant Governor position, with Villaraigosa as the front man. Despite Villaraigosa's obvious interest in the position, Harris may choose to run on her own ticket with the support of voters with an interest in reducing crime.
Jim Gray (L)
Many California independent voters will be familiar with Jim Gray as the current Libertarian Vice Presidential candidate, sharing a ticket with Gary Johnson. He has previously served as a municipal court judge in Santa Ana, and a superior court judge in Orange County. Assuming that the Johnson/Gray ticket fails to win the 2012 Presidential race, Gray may seek a superior leadership role in his home state. Gray is one of the few third party politicians among the potential candidates for governor in 2014. He maintains a very strong support network among independent voters in the Golden State, which he could rally to support his campaign.