Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom and former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa have each hired advisors who know the most intimate details of both men’s extramarital affairs in a move that could be interpreted as a form of intimidation and psychological political warfare in the 2018 race for governor.
Villaraigosa and Newsom, both Democrats, are the top two contenders in the race to replace Gov. Jerry Brown, who will term out in 2018. A poll released last month showed the race between them tightening.
According to a report in the Los Angeles Times, Newsom has hired Sean Clegg, Villaraigosa’s deputy mayor in 2007 and the man perhaps closest to the then-mayor when it was discovered that he had been having an extramarital affair with Telemundo reporter Mirthala Salinas.
The Times further notes that Eric Jaye, who was Newsom’s chief political strategist when he was the mayor of San Francisco, and was present when Newsom came public about his affair with his appointments secretary, is now Villaraigosa’s senior strategist.
The woman Newsom had an affair is reportedly the wife of Alex Tourk, who was Newsom’s deputy chief of staff and campaign manager — until he learned of the extra-martial affair.
Villaraigosa has since married his new wife, Patricia Govea (2016), and Newsom is staying busy with his wife of nine years, Jennifer Siebel, and their four young children.
Political consultants are obligated to sign nondisclosure agreements, the Times notes. However, it adds that Jaye and Clegg “have a valuable and unusual degree of insight into their former bosses’s habits and foibles, a familiarity that could give both candidates a boost.”
Republican Travis Allen, who entered the governor’s race in June, is the Republican with the most name recognition in this competition.
State Treasurer John Chiang, and Delaine Eastin, a former state superintendent of public instruction, are the other two major Democrats in the race.
Other candidates are contemplating entering the race for the open seat. San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer stayed out — but, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune, he remains a major Republican figure at the state and national levels, as the only Republican mayor of a major U.S. city.