California’s Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom called Trump “a joke and a racist,” and called for him to “resign” in a Facebook post last Thursday, just prior to a major gubernatorial debate.
On Saturday, all the major Republican and Democrat contenders to replace outgoing Gov. Jerry Brown in 2018 convened for a debate at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.
Both of the two Republicans onstage and two of the three other Democrats reportedly attacked Newsom, who is leading in all recent polls, as he has since announcing his candidacy.
California’s top-two or “jungle” primary system allows for the top two vote-getters, regardless of political party, to advance to the general election after the upcoming June 5 primary. It appears former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, a fellow Democrat, could be the other nominee to advance. According to a USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll from November, Newsom is leading with 31% of support from registered voters, followed by Villaraigosa with 21%.
That same poll found Republican Assemblyman Travis Allen (R-Huntington Beach) with 15%, Republican businessman John Cox and Chiang tied at 11%, and Eastin with 4% of support.
Former Republican congressman Doug Ose, who entered the gubernatorial race just over a week ago,was not invited to participate in Saturday’s debate town hall.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Newsom was attacked by the other candidates for his support for single-payer health care. Villaraigosa, who said he is on Medicare, reportedly said that while he is “philosophically for it,” he criticized Newsom for not having a plan saying, “You’ve got to have a plan, everybody. Anybody who is telling you that we should do it without a plan is selling you snake oil… You don’t have a plan.”
Newsom reportedly shot back at Villaraigosa, pointing out that, “Antonio just mentioned that he’s on Medicare. Isn’t that interesting — (Medicare is) a single-payer plan in this country that is working. That brings down the costs. That allows government to use its leverage and purchasing power.”
Chiang — who, like Villaraigosa said he supports single-payer healthcare — said the concept was financially unfeasible and accused Newsom of flip-flopping on the issue depending on his audience, according to the Times.
As expected, the Democrats were also critical of President Donald Trump.
Repealing Gov. Jerry Brown’s gas tax was a major point of contention between both Republican candidates.
Eastin appeared to be the only candidate to avoid directly attacking anyone.