California Gubernatorial Race Update

April 18, 2018
CLSA PAC Update By Manny Heer

Governor Jerry Brown will be termed out this November, setting the stage for over 50 candidates who have filed statements of intention, though only a few have reported any noteworthy fundraising activity. On the Democratic side, Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, Treasurer John Chiang, and Former Assembly Speaker and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa entered the race to become the next governor of California. On the Republican side, San Diego businessman John Cox, Former Assemblymember David Hadley, and Orange County Assemblymember Travis Allen have jumped into the race in hopes of upsetting the Democrats.

Polling has consistently shown Newsom leading the field, with Villaraigosa or Cox in second place by a significant margin, although ‘undecided’ still polls the highest and Newsom’s lead has narrowed in recent months. Newsom has also been the front runner in fundraising with more in his campaign fund than the next two or three Democratic candidates combined, partially due to starting his campaign early in 2017. Villaraigosa and Chiang continue to fundraise aggressively to be the contenders in this race, while Cox on the Republican side can draw from extensive personal funds.

These candidates will be faced with many complex issues, including the potential for a single payer healthcare system and rate regulation for healthcare entities, and the impact on life sciences companies doing business in California could be significant. The issue of single payer in particular has divided the Democratic field of candidates. Newsom has expressed strong support for a single payer system, though not the same version that has been debated in the Capitol over the past year, while Villaraigosa and state Treasurer John Chiang have expressed doubt that the state can afford it.

Questions: Please contact Oliver Rocroi, Senior Director, State Government Relations ( or (916) 588-0965.