Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom continues to refuse any debates with Republican challenger Ron Nehring. Though the state’s rising Democratic star proclaims that he is “Dedicated to equal rights” on his Twitter page, evidently that enthusiasm for equality does not extend to sharing a platform with his opponent, nor to allowing voters to hold accountable for his positions in even the most perfunctory, once-every-four-years fashion.
The Sacramento Bee reports that Nehring has even offered to allow liberal MSNBC hosts Rachel Maddow or Ed Schultz to moderate the debate, but Newsom continues to decline. The latest Field Poll shows Newsom ahead of Nehring, the state Republican Party chair, by a 20-point margin.
So the incumbent has little to gain–but he also has little to lose, while California voters will miss a rare opportunity to hear Newsom’s views on the issues.
Though incumbent Democrat Gov. Jerry Brown leads Republican challenger Neel Kashkari by a similar margin, he agreed to one debate, which was held in Sacramento earlier this month and led to a thorough exposition of the candidates’ positions on key challenges facing the state.
Newsom, who is thought to be biding his time until a U.S. Senate seat opens up, may find himself ill-prepared for the debates sure to ensue in that future contest.
As Lt. Governor, the infamously well-coiffed Newsom has rarely stood out, except for areas in which he has sought to distinguish his views from those of Gov. Brown–such as on high-speed rail, which he now opposes.
As mayor of San Francisco, his administration was known for taking controversial positions on minor issues of local and “progressive” interest, such as vetoing a citywide ban on toys in McDonald’s happy meals in 2010.
Senior Editor-at-Large Joel B. Pollak edits Breitbart California and is the author of the forthcoming ebook, Wacko Birds: The Fall (and Rise) of the Tea Party, available for Amazon Kindle.
Follow Joel on Twitter: @joelpollak