In his latest campaign ad, Democratic gubernatorial frontrunner Gavin Newsom seeks to counter the narrative that he would not be where he is without the help of a very wealthy family friend by playing down his privileged past and focusing on his single mom who “worked three jobs” and “waitressed at night to make ends meet.”
“My mom taught me everything I know about grit, hard work, determination,” Newsom, the state’s current lieutenant governor, says in the 30-second Internet ad. “She believed you measure your life by your actions.” Newsom added that while his mother Tessa passed away over a decade ago from breast cancer, her legacy and leadership will live on for him forever.
My mom passed away over a decade ago. She was a single mom who worked 3 jobs and waitressed at night to support her two kids and my foster brother. She taught me everything I know about grit, hard work, and determination. Her example of leadership will live on forever for me. pic.twitter.com/sw9xgUTMBH
— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) March 1, 2018
Newsom’s father, Bill, was not home very often during his childhood, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, and lost his law practice after an unsuccessful run for the state Senate in 1968.
What Newsom has also sought to evade with this new ad is his father’s lifelong friendship and business association with billionaire oil magnate Gordon Getty, whose $2 billion-plus Gordon P. Getty Family Trust the senior Newsom went on to manage.
“It may look like the guy was born with a silver spoon in his mouth, but that’s not the reality,” Nathan Ballard, a political confidant who served as Newsom’s mayoral press secretary, told the San Francisco Chronicle.
The ad is sensitive to the concerns of the progressive left, which has lashed out against so-called “white privilege.”
Newsom is leading the packed gubernatorial race, with former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa in a close second and virtual tie.
State Treasurer John Chiang and former state schools superintendent Delaine Eastin are the two other Democrats in the race. The Republican candidates are Assemblyman Travis Allen (R-Huntington Beach) and San Diego businessman John Cox.
One of Newsom’s main issues is his push for a $400 billion California-run single-payer health care plan.