Former Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s strategy to take on Lieutenant Gov. Gavin Newsom — who is leading in the 2018 race for governor — appears to be focused on turning out Latino and working-class voters.
Last week, Villaraigosa’s campaign released a 12-minute video in which he spoke in Spanish, with English subtitles, for the first two minutes during a visit to the Mexican border. Villaraigosa was there with a group of volunteers, whom he referred to as “angels,” who were delivering water to immigrants illegally crossing into the United States.
“We’re delivering this water because more than 10,000 people have lost their lives crossing the border with their hopes — reuniting their family, working for what we know as the American Dream,” he said, after criticizing President Donald Trump’s “anti-immigration policy, anti-Mexican policy.”
The video was reportedly created by Mark Putnam, who produced a half-hour piece on Barack Obama for his 2008 presidential campaign.
Additionally, the San Francisco Chronicle notes that Villaraigosa plans to paint Lt. Gov. Newsom, who also served as mayor of San Francisco from 2004-2011, as an elitist, juxtaposing Newsom’s more comfortable upbringing with Villaraigosa’s more challenging childhood with a single mother and alcoholic father.
As mayor of San Francisco, Newsom won reelection with 74% of the vote.
Last month, the state Legislature’s California Latino Caucus endorsed Villaraigosa for governor. However, the nod will not be enough, by itself, to take him past Newsom.
For one, a 2016 study by the Pew Research Center found that Latinos comprise 39 percent of California’s population and that they make up an even smaller portion of its electorate. The San Francisco Chronicle notes: “Compounding the challenge for Villaraigosa is that typically, fewer Latinos and low-income voters participate in non-presidential elections, and their turnout rate is lower than that of the overall electorate.”
The poll also had Orange County Assemblyman Travis Allen (R-Huntington Beach) at 9 percent.
Democrat Treasurer John Chiang, endorsed by Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA), and former state schools superintendent Delaine Eastin are also in the running. Chiang, with strong fundraising, appears to be more suited to put up a fight. However, one third of likely voters are still undecided as to who they will vote for in 2018.