Capitol Alert

Newsom, Faulconer lead hypothetical 2018 field for California governor

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks with the Sacramento Press Club on Oct. 19, 2016.
Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks with the Sacramento Press Club on Oct. 19, 2016. AP

Democratic Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and Republican San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer lead a competitive but deeply unsettled field in the 2018 governor’s race, according to a privately-funded survey Wednesday conducted by Public Policy Polling.

Newsom is out ahead with 25 percent, while Faulconer is in second at 20 percent. Before going any further, a caveat. A few, actually.

Faulconer, despite being held up as a lone GOP big city mayor and the kind of moderate Republican that could win in cerulean-blue California, previously committed to serve his full four-year term. Of course, that doesn’t preclude him from running statewide.

The rest of the field included in the poll is either running (former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Treasurer John Chiang), not running (former Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin), or possibly running/unlikely to run (Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Secretary of State Alex Padilla and climate activist Tom Steyer). All are Democrats except Faulconer and Swearengin.

Behind the leaders are Garcetti (13 percent), Swearengin (12 percent), Villaraigosa (9 percent), Steyer (4 percent), Padilla (3 percent) and Chiang (2 percent).

A hypothetical field of candidates for U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s seat, should the Democrat decide not to compete in 2018, found newly-minted Attorney General Xavier Becerra with 21 percent, Faulconer with 18 percent, Swearengin with 13 percent, Rep. Brad Sherman with 11 percent, Rep. Eric Swalwell with 5 percent and Senate leader Kevin de León with 4.

Public Policy Polling surveyed 882 registered voters on Jan. 17-18, and the poll has a 3.3 percent margin of error. The poll was paid for by Jeffrey Haines. A Jeffrey Haines of Los Angeles has made several contributions to Sherman, who is not typically mentioned for U.S. Senate.

Christopher Cadelago: 916-326-5538, @ccadelago