The title of this piece is not meant to disclose the whereabouts of Gov. Gavin Newsom or where he might pop up without telling the press as he has a want to do; neither is it asking where the governor stands on any particular issue, there is plenty of time to use the “Where’s Gavin” question in that regard. I want to know where Gavin is in the Washington Post’s weekly power rankings designed to determine the strongest challengers in the 2020 presidential election.
The Post established the rankings on February 1 to take a weekly look at who’s hot and who’s not as the strongest challengers to President Trump, be they Democratic, Republican or of no party at all. The Post column lists the top 15 contenders with names of additional individuals who received votes.
Newsom has never received a vote.
Sure, Gavin said he’s not running for president (this time) and has already endorsed California U.S. Senator Kamala Harris for the job. But, Newsom’s endorsement of Harris didn’t come until the rankings were three weeks old, yet no votes for Gavin.
Come on, the leader of the largest, most influential state in the nation doesn’t get any consideration in the rankings? Even when recent defeated candidates in major races like former Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke and unsuccessful Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams have made appearances in the rankings? Abrams has given no indication that she is running for president, either.
With so many candidates in the race the unpredictable could happen opening an opportunity for Newsom.
As one of the Post’s opinion writers taking part in the rankings, California’s Hugh Hewitt, put it, comparing the possibility of the presidential race to a NASCAR pile-up, “Crowded fields can be exciting, but they lead to crack-ups and deadly miscues.”
Has Harris taken the air out of the California room in the presidential race? Witness the recent article by veteran Los Angeles Times political writer Mark Z. Barabak wondering if Harris forms a bookend of sorts to Ronald Reagan as presidential material from the Golden State. It should be noted that since the rankings were established five weeks ago, Harris has held the number one position.
Yet, California is big enough to be the home of two major candidates for the job. Certainly, if Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti were still active in the presidential race he would be on the list. I write that confidently because South Bend, Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg has been as high as tenth on the list of 15.
Yes, Newsom is new to the job and hasn’t established a track record as governor but he has other achievements during his political career. He has enough of a record on national issues such as immigration, marijuana and guns for people to know where he stands.
On heath care, consider that a major supporter of Newsom’s gubernatorial campaign, the nurses’ union, is disappointed that there is no bill on single-payer health care in this legislative session. You can bet that if Newsom was gung-ho in pushing that issue forward there would be a bill.
Newsom’s positions are better known and his profile is arguably higher than other governors or former governors who are in or considering entering the race: Jay Inslee of Washington, Steve Bullock of Montana, Terry McAuliffe of Virginia, John Hickenlooper of Colorado, some of whom have received votes in the rankings.
So where’s Gavin?
Give California some respect by including the state’s young, active governor.
Don’t take this column as an endorsement, Gavin. I’m just standing up for California.
Here are the latest rankings as declared by the Washington Post opinion writers.