There’s also the fact that Newsom opposed this moment’s big change candidate, President Barack Obama. Instead, he joined with most political establishment Democratic stalwarts and backing Hillary Clinton in the primaries.
In fact, some of Obama’s California supporters are looking to bring a candidate who shares their values into the race and have formed a group called Change Candidate for California to recruit a gubernatorial candidate.
“We’re not convinced that Mayor Newsom is the best candidate to lead us out of this crisis,” said Steve Fowler, one of the group’s founders. “We are inspired by the Obama campaign and we want a leader who can reengage Californians with their state.”
O’Connor also thinks there’s a good possibility others will get into the race: “It’s not a good field on either side and you may see some people come in as a result.”
Yet for now, Newsom the candidate looks like a strong contender, despite his myriad flaws.
“But the question is, How does that brand govern?” Cook said.
Being the postpartisan maverick may play well at the polls, but Gov. Schwarzenegger is proving that it translates into being unable to govern the state effectively or find common ground between the two polarized parties.
“It’s a good campaign position,” Cook said. “But I don’t think this is a viable governing strategy for California.”