I received an email from “Gavin Newsom for a better California,” announcing that Newsom will hold a “Los Angeles area conversation about California’s future” on March 17 at Santa Monica High School. Newsom’s website labels the event a “Town Hall.” The email states: “[i]t’s time to have an honest conversation about how to get our troubled state back on track.” However, neither piece mentions the word “Governor.” Rather, the bottom of the email reads “Paid for by Newsom for California Exploratory Committee.” At the same time, the “Contribute” button, complete with dollar sign, is plenty prominent on Newsom’s website.
Now, I know that it is common for candidates for statewide or national office to form exploratory committees before formally announcing their candidacy, and then to travel around the state having “conversations” and “listening tours.” Presumably, Newsom would say that it is premature to formally announce his candidacy for an election occurring more than 18 months from now. But that then begs the question of whether it isn’t also premature for us to meet with Newsom in Santa Monica just a few weeks from now. Is Newsom being too cute? If he is not an official candidate for Governor, and, presumably, would not answer questions with “as Governor, I would …,” then should Los Angeles tell Newsom to Get Off Our Lawn?