Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom (Photo credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA Today Network)

Gavin Newsom In Commanding Position In Race For Governor

But Tells KCBS Radio "Emphatically" He Won't Run for President

Doug Sovern
May 21, 2018 - 5:00 am

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS Radio) - Eight years ago, California was considered "ungovernable" by many, with ballooning deficits, a dysfunctional state government, and routinely devastating budget cuts. Then came the Great Recovery from the Great Recession, and the return of an older and wiser Jerry Brown to the governor's office, and now the Golden State is back in the black. Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom not only thinks it's governable again, he desperately wants to be the one to govern it.

And if the polls are right, he has a good chance to do just that. Newsom is the prohibitive frontrunner in the race to succeed Brown. The 50-year-old Democrat, the former two-term Mayor of San Francisco, seems a cinch to finish in the top two in the June 5 primary, which would advance him to the November general election. Newsom tells KCBS Radio, in this week's series of profiles of the top six candidates, that for him, the overriding issue now is closing the yawning divide between California's rich and poor; addressing income and wealth inequality and the state's horrifying poverty rate and lack of affordable housing, he says, must be the next governor's top priority. And he thinks it must begin with a renewed focus on prenatal care, early childhood education and laying the groundwork for a lifetime of success in the first three years a Californian is on this earth.

Newsom also insists he has his eyes on one prize only: the Governor's office. As other Californians build the foundation for a presidential bid in 2020, Newsom insists he has no intention of ever running for the White House. "I'm running to be governor...I am enthusiastically not among" those seeking the presidency, Newsom tells KCBS Radio he won't run in 2024, either. "It's just not something I'm interested in. Keep the tape. It's an emphatic no, it really is," says Newsom, insisting his goal is to serve eight years as governor, if the voters will have him, with no aspirations to higher national office.

You can listen to our entire 16-minute interview with Newsom above, or to the segment airing on the radio, below.