Capitol Alert

Newsom, Cox to square off + Debate day

John Cox takes aim at Gavin Newsom as the two prepare to face off for governor in November

Republican John Cox finished in a strong second place to Democrat Gavin Newsom in the race for California governor, ensuring Republicans won't be shut out of the race to replace retiring Gov. Jerry Brown.
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Republican John Cox finished in a strong second place to Democrat Gavin Newsom in the race for California governor, ensuring Republicans won't be shut out of the race to replace retiring Gov. Jerry Brown.


Angela Hart writes…

In what is likely to be the only debate in the governor’s race before the November election, Democrat Gavin Newsom and Republican John Cox are heading to the KQED studios in San Francisco at 10 a.m. today to explain why voters should elect them. Here are a few things you should watch for:

  • Background: How much Cox presses Newsom on his privilege, both politically and financially during his time in San Francisco. Newsom got his start in politics with help from former San Francisco Mayor and Assembly Speaker Willie Brown, who appointed Newsom first to the city’s Parking and Traffic Commission and a year later, to an open seat on its Board of Supervisors. As Newsom received help early on from San Francisco’s political elite, he also had financial backing from the wealthy Getty family.
  • Affordability: This is a top issue for millions of Californians, and the candidates have very different approaches. Newsom has made homelessness a central campaign issue, while Cox has argued Newsom’s proposals are too expensive. Cox, whose central campaign message focuses on repeal of the 2017 gas tax increase, could force Newsom to go on the defensive, and voters should pay attention to the details surrounding Newsom’s policy goals.
  • Donald Trump: One thing worth watching is how often Newsom deflects Cox’s attacks, and instead goes after the president. Newsom is a vocal critic of Trump, particularly on immigration, health care and climate policy. On his campaign bus tour last month, he ignored Cox, instead campaigning for House Democratic hopefuls.


Newsom and Cox aren’t the only candidates participating in a debate today. At 9 a.m., Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Elk Grove, will participate in an hour-long joint interview on KQED with Jessica Morse, his Democratic opponent. The candidates will field questions submitted from listeners. The candidates participated in a heated debate last month.

You can listen to both debates live at the station’s live link.


Proposition 6 proponents calling for a repeal of last year’s gas tax increases are down in the polls and looking to win over voters this November. Carl DeMaio, who is leading the Proposition 6 campaign, will square off against and opponent Matt Cate at the Sacramento Press Club today. The debate will be held at 11:45 a.m. in Sacramento at the State Building & Construction Trades Council.


Paul Mitchell (@paulmitche11) —

If the election were held today, Republican energy from the SCOTUS win would be through the roof, probably save them from losing the house. But the election is still 32 days away. Will this win sustain the Republican base that long?


Which party’s voters will be more motivated: Democrats or Republicans? Influencers have plenty to say.

“Tip O’Neil reminded us that “all politics is local”. But these are not normal times. The large shadow of Trump covers California with a disapproval rating of 60% …. 50% is intense disapproval. Trump won in a “send a message” election. It appears that this too will be a “send a message to Trump” election in California. Trump”s bombastic style, lying and treatment of women will very likely cause the Republicans to lose at least the House of Representatives. And his continued bad behavior is the most prominent thing to watch as we go into the last month of the campaign. Democratic candidates will be wise to never mention Trump and stay focused on the critical issues and concerns of the voters in their district. But the shadow of Trump will be there.”

— David Townsend, Founder, TCT Public Affairs

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The Ed Board also offers its recommendations for local seats in the California Legislature.

Bill Whalen, a Hoover Institution research fellow and former speechwriter for Gov. Pete Wilson, thinks attorneys general have played fast and loose with initiative titles and summaries.


Jack Ohman wonders what a TV debate between Gavin Newsom and John Cox would look like.

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