California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom says he wants California’s top job, but that he would pass on running for president. “With all due respect, ex-president sounds like a great job,” he said.
Newsom is the current front-runner in a heated race to replace termed-out Gov. Jerry Brown and says his focus is on the Golden State, not Washington D.C. “California will be well served by having a governor who is working full time on the state’s business,” Newsom said.
Newsom referred to Gov. Brown’s decision to run for president in 1976, shortly after he was elected to his first term as California governor in 1974. Brown ran for president again in 1980 and 1992. It’s not an example he wants to follow, said Newsom.
“The one regret I hear more often, privately, not just publicly, of Gov. Brown, is that he came back to make up for the fact that he had his eye off the ball and was doing a lot of things in those first early terms where, frankly, he had a presidential lens,” said Newsom. “And what a contrast — what’s he accomplished in the last seven years.”
Newsom even looked straight into the camera to say, “Here is the tape, you’ll have this tape. No!”
Nonetheless, a charismatic and newly elected governor of the nation’s largest state is likely to automatically become part of the conversation for the 2020 presidential election. California Sen. Kamala Harris and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti are already thought to be eyeing a run for president.
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KQED Newsroom airs Fridays at 7 p.m. on Channel 9.