Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, the two Democrat frontrunners in the heated race to become California’s 40th governor, attacked each other’s business ties during a Thursday night debate that was hosted by Spanish-language TV station Univision and the Latino Community Foundation.
Newsom reportedly accused Villaraigosa of “shilling” for Herbalife, a controversial international nutrition supplements company that markets to Latinos. Villaraigosa shot back by suggested that Newsom got “rich in office,” suggesting it was improper for him to benefit from his wine business, Plumjack Winery, while serving as mayor of San Francisco.
“I was focused on my job,” Villaraigosa reportedly said. “He’s become a multimillionaire selling wine. I’ll keep my record to his anytime.”
According to the San Jose Mercury News, Newsom asked Villaraigosa about his work for Herbalife International, which paid out $200 million in 2016 after it was found to have deceived consumers. Villaraigosa reportedly consulted for Herbalife from 2013 to 2016 and made $162,500 from the company in 2013 alone.
Newsom reportedly started the wine business before entering politics and grew it into a successful venture.
Immigration and the Latino vote were also hot topics.
At one point during the debate, moderator Jorge Ramos reportedly brought two young Hispanic attendees on stage and pressed Republican State Assemblyman Travis Allen (R-Huntington Beach) on his immigration views, asking, “It’s very simple, will you deport them or not?”
According to Southern California Public Radio, Allen said, “Erick and Marcela, what I would tell you is your president of the United States, the duly elected president, is working on a deal right now.”
Allen reportedly went on to note that deporting illegal immigrants was not the governor’s job.
John Cox, a fellow Republican and San Diego County businessman, reportedly said, “I love the Latino people” at one point during the debate, after saying Newsom had “collected mucho dollars” from special interest groups.
State Treasurer John Chiang and former public schools chief Delaine Eastin, both Democrats, also debated.
Also on Thursday, Gov. Jerry Brown delivered his final State of the State Address where he reportedly issued a harsh rebuke of President Donald Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress.