Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom seems to be trying to rescue his collapsing Governor campaign by leveraging his Chairmanship of the California Lands Commission to fight the Trump administration’s plan to open up offshore oil drilling.
One of the positions that Newsom holds as Lt. Governor Newsom is Chairman of the Lands Commission. Newsom sent out a blast email to the press promising: “I am resolved that not a single drop from Trump’s new oil plan ever makes landfall in California.”
Although Pacific Ocean shelf mineral rights are controlled by the federal government, Newsom outlined a strategy to stop new oil exploration and development by denying any new pipeline permits to transport increased offshore oil production to refineries.
With 73 percent Californians opposed to new offshore drilling along the 1,270-mile shoreline, Newsom hopes getting into a battle with the Trump administration will rescue his campaign to replace termed-out Democrat Gov. Jerry Brown in the general elections.
The Democrat Party nomination for governor is now a dead heat with former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa having erased Newsom’s 10 point lead in November. The non-partisan Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) latest poll found a statistical tie with Newsom at 23 percent support to Villaraigosa’s 21 support.
Most of Villaraigosa’s gain came at the expense of Newsom, who had been the considered the overwhelming favorite with his ballot elected title advantage and the fact that Villaraigosa has been out of office since 2013. Villaraigosa’s favorability rating among likely voters spiked from 31 percent in December to 40 percent in February.
Newsom’s and Villaraigosa’s favorability rating for Democratic likely voters is tied at 55 percent. But among independent likely voters that will provide the margin for victory in the general election, Villaraigosa is favored by 39 percent and Newsom trails at 34 percent.
Even more concerning to Newsom is the surprisingly large 24 percent of likely voters who are still undecided. According to campaign managers, Breitbart News spoke to, primary undecideds usually vote against the party establishment candidate in June 5 primary.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported that Newsom opened his governor campaign account February 2015, initially transferred $2.9 million from his 2014 Lt. Gov. Through December 31, he had raised another $20 million and still had $19.5 million in the bank.
Villaraigosa may have also transferred money from a prior mayor campaign into his governor campaign account. He has only raised $4.4 million last year, but Villaraigosa still had $5.9 million in the bank at yearend.