Online Extra: Political Notes: Newsom endorses gay candidates seeking state offices
by Matthew S. Bajko
Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom has endorsed the campaigns of two gay Democratic candidates seeking state offices in 2014.
In recent weeks Newsom announced his support of Assembly Speaker John A. Perez's bid for state controller and Campbell Mayor Evan Low's campaign for an Assembly seat in the San Jose area.
Newsom, the former mayor of San Francisco, remains a popular political figure with LGBT voters due to his embrace of marriage equality nearly a decade ago. His support could help Low and Perez attract donors and volunteers to their campaigns, particularly if Newsom agrees to host fundraisers for both candidates.
Low is seeking the 28th Assembly District seat covering portions of west San Jose and several Peninsula cities such as Saratoga, Los Gatos, and Campbell. His boss, Assemblyman Paul Fong (D- Cupertino), currently holds the seat but will be termed out of office next December.
In a release his campaign sent out December 10 to announce Newsom's endorsement, Low thanked Newsom for his "record of independent leadership."
"As someone who's also served as a young mayor of a Bay Area city, I appreciate the hard work and dedication that Gavin Newsom has shown. He's an example for all the young leaders across our state," stated Low. "I'm incredibly appreciative of his endorsement. In the Assembly, I look forward to working with the Lt. Governor to support innovative proposals to advance a stronger economy and a cleaner environment."
In a statement released by Perez's campaign December 5, Newsom praised the legislator's handling of fiscal matters while presiding over the state Legislature's lower chamber.
"California's financial picture has improved significantly in recent years, and John's strong leadership of the Assembly has been instrumental in making this happen," stated Newsom. "He'll provide the sound financial stewardship we need as California's next controller."
Perez, of Los Angeles, is running against longtime Board of Equalization member Betty Yee, whose seat on the state board covers large swaths of the state's central and northern coastal counties. He is the second out candidate to seek a statewide office in California; Tony Miller sought the secretary of state position in the mid-1990s after he was appointed to fill the term of March Fong Eu when she was named an ambassador in the Clinton administration.
Another well-known politician from the Bay Area, East Bay resident and state Treasurer Bill Lockyer, also endorsed Perez in recent weeks. Lockyer at one time had been considered a frontrunner in the race for controller but decided to retire from politics when his term ends in 2014.
"Speaker Perez has a keen knowledge of the state budget and his commitment to fiscal responsibility make him the ideal person for the job," stated Lockyer.
Yee, a San Francisco native and longtime ally, has attracted significant support among LGBT leaders in the Bay Area and around the state.
Among her LGBT endorsers are state Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco); former San Francisco Supervisor Bevan Dufty; former state Senators Carole Migden and Christine Kehoe ; Low and Campbell Vice Mayor Richard Waterman; and Emeryville City Councilwoman Ruth Atkin.
Lesbian San Louis Obispo resident Debra Broner , a California Democratic Party regional director and at-large member of the LGBT Caucus of the California Democratic Party executive board, stated on Yee's campaign website that she has "supported Betty Yee for Controller 2014 from day one."
Newsom's snub of Yee in the controller's race is not that surprising, given that Perez endorsed his bid in 2010 for lieutenant governor against Janice Hahn, who was then a Los Angeles City Councilwoman and has since been elected to Congress.
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