* Was elected Mayor of San Francisco in 2003
* Was elected Lieutenant Governor of California in 2010
* Was elected Governor of California in 2018
* Favors “sanctuary” protections for illegal aliens
* Supports unfettered abortion rights for all women
* Supports publicly funded universal preschool and health care
* Views America as a racist nation
* Survived a recall election in 2021
Gavin Newsom was born on October 10, 1967 in San Francisco, California. His father, William Newsom III, was a judge for the California Court of Appeals and maintained ties with prominent political figures in the San Francisco area. Most notably, the elder Newsom was a friend of the billionaire Getty family, worked with former (1959-67) Democrat Governor Pat Brown of California, served on the board of Earthjustice, and had a sister who married the brother-in-law of Nancy Pelosi. The younger Newsom struggled with dyslexia, and his parents divorced when he was 5-years-old. While raised by a single mother, Newsom remained close with both his father and the Getty family. Through the assistance of a family friend, he obtained a partial scholarship to play baseball at Santa Clara University, where he received a bachelor’s degree in Political Science in 1989.
Newsom secured his first job out of college — an $18,000-per-year position as a real estate assistant — through his family’s connections to Walter Shorenstein, a wealthy real estate investor and major donor to many prominent Democrat politicians. Then, with financial support from the Getty family, Newsom co-founded a San Francisco-based wine company called PlumpJack in 1992. Before long, he was able to expand the company and invest in various other restaurants, wineries, and retail establishments in Northern California. As a result of these multiple ventures (eleven businesses in total), Newsom’s average yearly income from 1996-2001 was approximately $439,000. Among his many business partners during the 1990s were Nancy Pelosi and her husband, Paul.
Newsom first became involved in politics in 1995 when he volunteered for the San Francisco mayoral campaign of the eventual winner, Willie Brown. Soon after taking office in 1996, Brown appointed Newsom to the San Francisco Parking and Traffic Commission. In 1997, Brown placed Newsom on the city’s influential Board of Supervisors.
In December 2001, Newsom married Kimberly Guilfoyle, a registered Republican who at the time was working for San Francisco district attorney Terence Hallinan. By January 2005, however, the couple announced their intention to divorce. Following his break from Guilfoyle, Newsom briefly dated a 19-year-old model and collegiate lacrosse player. He then had relationships with several television actresses, one of whom accompanied him to a Scientology-backed fundraiser in Los Angeles.
In 2003 Newsom was elected to succeed the term-limited Willie Brown as Mayor of San Francisco, capturing nearly 53% of the total vote to defeat Green Party candidate Matthew Gonzalez, who was president of the city’s Board of Supervisors, in a runoff election. Newsom’s victory was in large part due to the support he received from wealthy Democrat benefactors, as well as the endorsements of Democrat luminaries like Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Nancy Pelosi, and Willie Brown. He took office as Mayor in January 2004.
During that same month, SFGate.com reported that the San Francisco Director of Public Works, Mohammed Nuru, as well as the Executive Director of the San Francisco League of Urban Gardeners, Jonathan Gomwalk, had pressured nine city street cleaners “to vote and electioneer for Newsom by saying their jobs would be in jeopardy unless Newsom won the mayor’s race.” One of those nine workers claimed that the intimidation tactic had made him feel like a “dictatorship [was] taking place.” Another street cleaner remarked that the situation had caused him to feel “really uncomfortable” because he would have preferred “to vote for the other guy.” Both Nuru and Gomwalk denied the accusations, and the Newsom mayoral campaign claimed to have no knowledge of the alleged events.
On February 12, 2004, Newsom, in defiance of existing California state law which defined marriage as a relationship between one man and one woman, authorized the San Francisco county clerk to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Over the ensuing four weeks, nearly 4,000 same-sex marriages were recorded in the city. Newsom explained that the idea of initiating this wave of gay weddings had come to him during President George W. Bush’s January 20, 2004 State of the Union address, during which Bush included some remarks about sexual abstinence, steroid abuse, and the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act. “This is 2004,” said Newsom, “we’re in the middle of two wars, we’ve got global warming, we have the health care crisis, and this guy [Bush] is talking about abstinence and steroid abuse and marriage? In the State of the Union? I mean, don’t get me wrong, sure, I’m for abstinence, steroids are wrong, I don’t like drugs. But I’m not sure I’d put it in my damn State of the Union. And then he ends this speech, the crescendo of the speech is Defense of Marriage.”
During his first State of the City address in 2004, Newsom promised to aggressively combat San Francisco’s homelessness problem. Notwithstanding his self-proclaimed title as “homeless czar,” Newsom, who falsely stated that “the vast majority [of San Francisco’s homeless people] come in … from Texas,” oversaw an overall increase in the amount of homeless individuals from 6,248 in January 2005 to 6,455 in January 2011.
Over the course of his first term as mayor, Newsom struggled with alcohol abuse. in 2005, he began a secret affair with a married woman named Ruby Rippey-Tourk, his appointments secretary. The affair remained hidden from the public until February 2007.
In March 2023, City Journal reported:
“The revelations cast Newsom’s louche behavior, previously the subject of digital-media amusement, in a darker light. Reports that he had arrived drunk at a San Francisco hospital on a Friday night to comfort the family of a murdered police officer further damaged his reputation. He sought treatment for alcohol abuse and tried to keep a lower social profile. Today, Newsom denies that he was ever an alcoholic and emphasizes that he went to a life coach rather than to rehab.”
In April 2007, Newsom affirmed his support for protecting San Francisco’s status as a sanctuary city for illegal aliens: “I will not allow any of my department heads or anyone associated with this city to cooperate in any way, shape, or form with [federal immigration] raids…. We are a sanctuary city, make no mistake about it.”
In April 2008, San Francisco spent $83,000 to promote – by way of television and radio commercials, billboard ads, and bus-shelter signs — the city’s reputation as a sanctuary for illegal migrants. “We are standing up to say to all of our residents: We don’t care what your status is,” Newsom stated. “We care that you, as a human being, are a resident of our city and we want you to participate in the life of our city.”
Later that same year, Newsom signed into law a public health-care program called Healthy San Francisco (HSF), administered by the city’s Department of Public Health. The Commonwealth Fund – whose mission is “to promote a high-performing, equitable health care system … particularly for society’s most vulnerable, including people of color, people with low income, and those who are uninsured — summarized the program as follows:
“HSF does not offer insurance, but rather gives members a medical home that emphasizes preventive care. It also provides specialty care, urgent and emergency care, mental health care, substance abuse services, laboratory services, inpatient hospitalization, radiology, and pharmaceuticals.… Membership fees and copayments are based on a sliding scale…. To be eligible for HSF, a person must be 18 to 64 years old, uninsured, live within city limits, and be ineligible for other public coverage programs…. In November, [enrollment] will be expanded to include all residents, regardless of income or immigration status.”
In August 2007, Newsom officially endorsed Senator Hillary Clinton for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination. He subsequently became a national co-chair for the 2008 Clinton campaign and described Hillary as someone who “has been fighting for progressive values for decades and … has shown us all that she is ready to lead our country as we face enormous challenges.”
In 2008, Newsom was featured in an ad wherein he told Californians that same-sex marriage was “going to happen, whether you like it or not.” Never wavering from his belief that his commitment to promoting and normalizing same-sex marriage was the proper course of action, he stated: “At the end of the day, if that’s all I’ve ever done, I’m very proud of it.”
In July 2008, Newsom married 31-year-old actress and documentary filmmaker Jennifer Siebel
In February 2009, Newsom granted one of his political donors, businessman Gus Murad, an exemption that permitted him to build a condominium structure twenty feet taller than the city’s standard height limit. Chris Daly — a Democrat member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors — called the move “disgusting” and described Newsom as “a mayor who has gained politically from the property owner.”
After dropping out of the California gubernatorial race in late 2009 due to former Governor Jerry Brown’s strong favorability within the state Democratic Party, Newsom ran successfully for the office of Lieutenant Governor in 2010, earning 50.12% of the vote to defeat his Republican counterpart, Abel Maldonado. Newsom formally took office on January 10, 2011.
During his first term as Lietenant Governor, Newsom hosted a talk show on Current TV.
In a 2013 interview with Politico, Newsom declared that the one executive decision which he would pursue if he were president, would be to “[c]onvert every coal-burning plant in the nation to a renewable energy plant.”
In a March 2014 speech at the California Democratic Party Convention, Newsom condemned the so-called “War on Drugs” and called for the legalization of marijuana. “It’s time we realize that the war on drugs is nothing more than a war on communities of color and on the poor,” he stated. Newsom further suggested that it was also “fundamentally time for drug policies that recognize and respect the full dignity of human beings.”
On June 10, 2014, Newsom co-signed a letter with dozens of LGBT activists urging San Francisco Catholic Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone not to attend an upcoming Washington, D.C. rally organized by the conservative National Organization for Marriage. The letter maintained that attending the event with other opponents of same-sex marriage would “appear to be endorsing their troubling words and deeds, which directly contradict the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ pastoral teaching that ‘God does not love someone any less simply because he or she is homosexual.’” The letter also accused notable opponents of gay marriage, like former Republican Governor Mike Huckabee, of having “repeatedly denigrated lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.”
Newsom was reelected as California’s Lieutenant Governor in November 2014 when he garnered 57.2% of the vote to defeat Republican challenger Ron Nehring. In the gubernatorial race, meanwhile, incumbent Democrat Jerry Brown won reelection to his final term with 60% of the 7.3 million ballots cast statewide.
On February 11, 2015 — nearly four years away from the next scheduled gubernatorial election — Newsom announced that he would run for California Governor in 2018. His campaign website laid out his positions and achievements on an array of key issues. Some excerpts:
Public Safety/Criminal Justice
Nation-leading Education Reforms
In 2016, Newsom encouraged California voters to support Proposition 63, a measure intended to dramatically stiffen regulations governing gun ownership. Claiming that the issue of gun control was a particularly personal one for him, he said: “I have been to more homicides than most people because I was mayor of a city. I have seen firsthand the devastation of gun violence. I’ve got four kids. Last year, more preschoolers were gunned down than police officers in the line of duty…. When I drop my kids off at school I have parents, literally, on my mother’s grave, that have asked me about gun violence because they are scared to death about dropping their kids off at school. I can’t stand these aspects of guns and gun violence, and I can’t stand this gun lobby.”
Soon after Donald Trump’s presidential election victory in November 2016, Newsom issued a letter to all 58 of California’s county education superintendents, urging them to combat “the recent surge of hate crimes, racial targeting and bullying in our schools.” Newsom also wrote that the “racially based rhetoric seen during the  presidential election does not make it acceptable to harass or bully other students.”
In October 2017, the powerful California Teachers Association officially endorsed Newsom’s run for Governor out of a field of 40 individuals who had declared their candidacy up to that point.
In 2018, Newsom’s campaign pledge to address the problem of child poverty called for the implementation of “universal preschool,” “college savings accounts for every kindergartner,” and “universal health care.”
Securing 61.9 percent of the vote, Newsom was easily elected California Governor over Republican John Cox in November 2018.
During his second month in the Governor’s office, Newsom officially endorsed political ally and then-Senator Kamala Harris for President. “I think the American people could not do better,” he said of Harris in February 2019.
In March 2019, Governor Newsom issued an executive order to temporarily suspend the use of capital punishment in California, where 737 convicted felons were sitting on Death Row at that time. “This is about who I am as a human being…. To me, this is the right thing to do,” the Governor stated. Although California residents had twice rejected ballot proposals calling for the abolition of the death penalty (in 2012 and 2016), Newsom nevertheless issued the moratorium because he considered capital punishment to be “inconsistent with our bedrock values” that lay “at the very heart of what it means to be a Californian.”
During remarks which he delivered at a June 2019 blessing ceremony at the site of the future California Indian Heritage Center in West Sacramento, Governor Newsom issued an executive order apologizing on behalf of the citizens of California for the “violence, maltreatment and neglect” that the state historically had directed against Native Americans. “California must reckon with our dark history,” Newsom said. “We can never undo the wrongs inflicted on the peoples who have lived on this land that we now call California since time immemorial, but we can work together to build bridges, tell the truth about our past and begin to heal deep wounds.” “It’s called a genocide,” the Governor added. “That’s what it was. A genocide. [There’s] no other way to describe it and that’s the way it needs to be described in the history books. And so I’m here to say the following: I’m sorry on behalf of the state of California.”
During the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020, Newsom introduced what were possibly the strictest state lockdown orders in the nation. Under Newsom’s state-of-emergency regulations, California residents could be charged with misdemeanors for participating in activities that the state did not deem “essential.” In April 2020, Newsom said that he viewed the pandemic as “an opportunity to reshape the way we do business and how we govern.”
Conservative columnist Larry Elder summarized the nature of Newsom’s COVID policies as follows: “He issued a dizzying number of directives, including ordering the closure of most school campuses; a mask mandate; the vaccination of all state employees or regular testing; the mailing of ballots to all registered voters; and in-school student mask and vaccine mandates for most grades, public and private, as well and school staff vaccine mandates.” And in July 2020, USA Today wrote: “All [California] counties are required to close indoor operations of restaurants, wineries, tasting rooms, movie theaters, family entertainment centers, zoos, museums, card rooms and all bars.”
Later in 2020, Newsom’s administration introduced an “Equity Metric” that would consider race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status when reopening the state’s economy. “If you believe in growth and you don’t believe in inclusion, then we’re going to leave a lot of people behind,” Newsom declared. “And one of the things we value as a state is inclusion, and we believe that we’re all better off when we’re all better off.” In a report about Newsom’s “equity” plan, the Daily Caller wrote: “An entire county can be kept shut down because certain areas are judged to be lacking in ‘equity,’ even if the whole county has relatively few cases of COVID…. Under this scheme, two counties with identical case positivity rates can be subject to vastly different restrictions, based not on how cases are distributed physically — a plausible public health consideration — but on how that distribution lines up with voter turnout, environmental quality, proximity to bars and other alleged socioeconomic factors.”
During the summer that followed the infamous May 25, 2020 death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Newsom permitted left-wing protestors and rioters to gather in large groups to carry out their demonstrations – all in violation of the Governor’s otherwise-strict COVID-19 protocols. “You’ve got to change culture, not just laws,” said Newsom. “And we have to own up to some very difficult things. The black community is not responsible for what’s happening to this country right now — We are.”
Amid the atmosphere of rage and violence that swept the country after George Floyd’s death, Newsom in 2020 signed legislation establishing a nine-member Reparations Task Force to formulate a plan for racial reparations in the state of California, giving “special consideration” to black Americans who were directly descended from slaves. Two years later, in June 2022, the task force issued a nearly 500-page interim report proposing dozens of recommendations and urging the state legislature to “implement a comprehensive reparations scheme” to compensate blacks with benefits such as housing grants, free school tuition, and a hike in the hourly minimum wage. According to CalMatters.org: “The 500-page study describes decades of state and federal government actions that harmed Black Americans — from American slavery to the more recent redlining, mass incarceration, police actions and the widening wealth gap between Blacks and whites.”
In December 2022, Newsom’s task force estimated that if a reparations program were ever to be adopted in California, each black person in the state who could claim any slaves as ancestors, could receive as much as $223,200 as compensation for the injustices that were inflicted upon those forebears. The total cost to California taxpayers could be as high as $569 billion—nearly 2.5 times the state’s entire 2023 budget.
In March 2023, City Journal pointed out the illogic of the entire mission of the reparations task force:
“California was never a slave state. It entered the Union as a free state in 1850 after its acquisition from Mexico, which had banned slavery in 1837. So the task force, while dictating that only descendants of slaves can receive payouts, has focused on housing discrimination that took place between 1933 and 1977, a period beginning 68 years after slavery was abolished in the United States.”
On September 30, 2020, Newsom signed a bill mandating that the boards of all publicly held corporations headquartered in California include a certain number of members from “underrepresented” demographic groups – i.e., “individual[s] who self-identif[y] as black, African American, Hispanic, Latino, Asian, Pacific Islander, Native American, Native Hawaiian, or Alaska Native, or who self-identif[y] as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender.” A judge subsequently ruled that this law violated California’s state constitution.
In November 2020 in Napa County, California, Newsom was caught personally violating his own COVID-19 safety regulations when he was filmed while attending a private indoor birthday dinner where none of the attendees – who included a number of lobbyists and officials from the California Medical Association — wore masks or practiced social distancing. The event took place at the exclusive restaurant French Laundry and cost an estimated $15,000.
Public outrage vis-à-vis the French Laundry incident as well as Newsom’s perceived overall mishandling of the pandemic, helped force a recall election seeking to remove the Governor from office in September 2021. But Newsom survived the recall effort, when some 61.9% of the voters cast their ballots in favor of retaining him as Governor.
In October 2021, Newsom announced his plan to make California the first U.S. state that would require students to receive a COVID-19 vaccine in order to be permitted to attend school in-person. That decision came just two months after California had become the first state in the union to mandate that teachers and school staff members either receive the vaccine or be subject to obligatory COVID testing on a weekly basis.
Also in October 2021, Newsom signed into law a bill ordering large department stores in California to establish a separate section for “gender neutral” toys and childcare items. The law mandated that such sections include “a reasonable selection” of items “regardless of whether they have been traditionally marketed for either girls or for boys.” The Democratic lawmaker who introduced the bill, Assemblyman Evan Low, said: “Part of it is to make sure if you’re a young girl that you can find a police car, fire truck, a periodic table or a dinosaur. And then similarly, if you’re a boy, if you’re more artistic and want to play with glitter, why not? Why should you feel the stigma of saying, ‘Oh, this should be shamed’ and going to a different location?” Added Low: “We need to stop stigmatizing what’s acceptable for certain genders and just let kids be kids. My hope is this bill encourages more businesses across California and the U.S. to avoid reinforcing harmful and outdated stereotypes.”
In October 2021 as well, Newsom signed a bill to restrict the use of sentencing enhancements for certain crimes committed by gang members. This bill was founded on the premise that because gang members in California were disproportionately black and Hispanic, the imposition of heavy penalties for gang-related offenses would only serve to perpetuate “systemic racism.” The legislation was originally proposed by Democratic Assemblywoman Sydney Kamlager, who stated: “Gang enhancements have long been used against people of color far more frequently than their white counterparts.”
After the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark Dobbs vs. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision overturning Roe v. Wade in June 2022, Newsom, a longtime supporter of abortion rights, vowed that “California will continue to be a safe haven for all women seeking reproductive health care services.” Toward that end, he passionately exhorted California voters to support Proposition 1 — a ballot measure which was drafted by the state legislature as a direct response to the Court’s ruling in Dobbs. Specifically, Prop 1 sought to amend the state constitution to make it “say that the state cannot deny or interfere with a person’s reproductive freedom and that people have the fundamental right to choose.”
Notwithstanding Newsom’s professed commitment to the goal of reducing income inequality in California, the Public Policy Institute of California reported in July 2022 that such inequality had become rampant throughout the state. Some excerpts:
When Californians were paying the highest gasoline prices in the country — well over $6 per gallon virtually everywhere in the state as of October 2022 – Newsom chose not to blame the energy policies of either the Biden administration or the state of California. Instead he blamed America’s oil companies, tweeting: “I’m calling for a Special Session to address the greed of oil companies. Gas prices are too high. Time to enact a windfall profits tax directly on oil companies that are ripping you off at the pump.”
In November 2022, Newsom was re-elected as Governor of California, capturing 59.2 percent of all votes in defeating Republican State Senator Brian Dahle.
In the four statewide election campaigns that Newsom ran in 2010, 2014, 2018, and 2022, he raised a total of nearly $80 million in political contributions. For details regarding Newsom’s history of courting affluent donors, click here, here, and here.
On January 5, 2023, Newsom used his second-term inaugural address at the California state Capitol to accuse Republicans of “promoting grievance and victimhood, in an attempt to erase so much of the progress you and I have witnessed in our lifetime.” He further charged that GOP leaders were now openly venting their “long-dormant authoritarian impulses” to “prey upon fear”; passing laws that “make it harder to vote and easier to buy illegal guns”; “selling regression as progress” while promoting a “rising tide of oppression”; and striving to “silence speech, fire teachers, kidnap migrants, subjugate women, attack the Special Olympics, and even demonize Mickey Mouse.”
 The 1996 Defense of Marriage Act had been passed by wide margins in both houses of Congress and signed into law by President Bill Clinton, in response to what the Heritage Foundation described as “an unprecedented state court decision that portended the possibility that the federal government and every other state in the Union would face legal challenges to the definition of marriage as the union of a man and a woman.”
 “I have not a second of regret about what we’ve done for same-sex marriage,” Newsom would state in an interview in 2008.
Just Who Is This Gavin Newsom Guy?
By Terry Paulding
July 10, 2022
Native Son: The Problem of Gavin Newsom
By Luke Thompson
Special Issue 2023