Former Schools Chief "Gaining Traction" In Race For Governor?

Only Major Woman Candidate Hopes To Crack The Top Two

Doug Sovern
May 22, 2018 - 5:00 am

There is only one woman among the major candidates for governor of California. She is attempting a political comeback, after years out of the spotlight.

Delaine Eastin, a 70-year-old Democrat, represented Union City in the State Assembly for eight years, from 1987-1995, and then served two terms as State Superintendent of Public Instruction, the only woman ever to hold that job. But she's been out of public office for 15 years. Now she's running for governor.

She tells KCBS Radio her focus is on improving education, cleaning up the environment, and fixing health care. "Education doesn't get less important in the future, it gets more important. But we're spending less. We're number one in per prisoner expenditure and number 41 per pupil. That's wrong."

Eastin has been frustrated by the tone of the governor's race, and the quality of the debate. "Everybody's looking to give you platitudes and take a big smiling picture," she says. "But they're not willing to change the policies of California." She senses a late groundswell of support from the Bay Area, and hopes it's enough to vault her into the top two in the June 5 primary. She recently won the endorsement of two San Francisco gay progressive stalwarts, Tom Ammiano and Harry Britt, and she's been winning some union support, which her campaign needs desperately, since Eastin refuses to accept corporate contributions. "Right now, I feel like I am getting some traction, finally. If I can get my voice heard, I can win this election."

But it remains a longshot for a woman, even in the #MeToo era, who is underfunded in a crowded field.