It's no major surprise that Gavin Newsom, current mayor of San Francisco abruptly abandoned the race for California Governor. There are so many things were standing in his way, including himself. The race was destined to be an uphill battle. Newsom had such weak poll numbers; there is no way he could have jumped ahead of Attorney General Jerry Brown to win the Governor's seat.
Firstly, the lack of support is a result of Newsom's own doing. The affair with his top aid's wife still lingers in the minds of his constituents, mostly men who feel like he broke the 'man code'. This loss in personal belief of his character as a candidate is one reason he couldn't scrounge up more support. Had he allowed enough time to pass and settle into his new family to build a new reputation, people would have forgotten about his past. Successful leaders don't just tell about the attributes we value and what makes them fit to lead, they show us.
Secondly, his absenteeism as a Mayor didn't do him any favors. Many San Franciscans were unimpressed with the constant campaigning that left the Mayor's office empty. The slippage of standing dropped the funds and support from a community that boasted very high approval ratings previously. Newsom acknowledged this in his statement released at 3pm on Friday October 30 where he cited family obligations and city duties as a reason for bowing out of the race.
Thirdly, Newsom seemed to be having an incredibly difficult time raising funds. In the reporting period last June, Newsom had raised $1.2 million to Jerry Brown's $7.4 million. Since then, Newsom has raised another $709,000 and Brown has raised $1.3 million. With such huge a discrepancy in monies, Brown could have easily created a more compelling campaign, embarrassing Newsom without really trying. Politics is as much about the ability to create a public personality as it is as having a great personality. Without matching funds, Newsom had no chance.
The few good things that Newsom has going for him is what he should focus on. His family and daughter would be a first step. He has an opportunity to position himself as a family man rather than just look like one, thereby exposing Californians to the fact that their personal values are inline with his values. Second, he should focus on the city that made him who he is. In the course of his time as Mayor, he has used the city's platform to gain a global position. He has utilized celebrity-centered politics to bring light to very critical issues. If Newsom were to wait a few more years and become a part of the culture rather than above it, he could truly gain back authenticity that he has lost due to bad decision-making. He could regain relationships he's that seem to be simmering his reputation. He needs to reach out to his constituents and be a part of the community. Create an open-door policy like he did when he was campaigning. His celebrity style and unapproachable office often makes him distant from the public that elected him.
All and all, the time is not right for Newsom. Perhaps, in a few years when he's proven he has the character everyone admired in him in the first place he can jump into another race in politics.
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