Covid-19 pockmarked California’s political landscape like no politician or ballot measure ever could. It ended or damaged lives, put a dagger into the heart of a healthy economy, it disrupted well planned political agendas, it shrunk government budgets and shocked the day-to-day life of all Californians. It could not be ignored. Neither could the person in the hot seat who by dint of his office had to lead the California response on the pandemic. So, Fox and Hounds Daily names Covid-19 and Governor Gavin Newsom as co-Black Bart Award winners having the greatest impact on California politics in 2020.

Recognizing the pioneering achievement being elected vice-president of the United States, there was debate over whether California’s junior senator, Kamala Harris, deserved this award. However, Harris’s step onto the national stage did not change greatly the dynamics of California politics and lifestyle.

Covid-19 consumed the lives of Californians for nearly the entire year. And, while hope is on the horizon with new vaccines, the virus will continue to threaten lives and cause myriad problems. 

Government’s response was led by Governor Newsom. He put himself in daily news briefings to keep the state’s citizens up on the coronavirus effects and how his administration would confront the menace with great purchases of supplies and orders to stay-at-home, which changed the fate of many businesses and jobs, not to mention traffic patterns. At first, he received praise for his success in confronting the virus. Later, criticisms arose over his use of executive orders and requirements that closed businesses and put jobs in jeopardy.

Newsom remained in the spotlight with his own missteps—a “dastardly dead” as Sherry Jeffe put it—by displaying bad judgement in the French Laundry Restaurant caper. But that spotlight that kept the focus on the governor through press briefings and missteps were all an offshoot of Covid-19 wreaking havoc in California.

The crisis and the response could not be separated. Therefore, Fox and Hounds Daily declares the winners of the Black Bart Award in this most unusual and uncomfortable year as Covid-19 and Governor Gavin Newsom.

Stay tuned tomorrow for a special announcement about Fox and Hounds Daily.

The updated list of F&H Daily Black Bart Award winners:


2009 State Sen. Abel Maldonado

2010 Governor-elect Jerry Brown

2011 Controller John Chiang

2012 Molly Munger and Charles Munger Jr.

2013 California’s Mayors

2014 The Non-Voter

2015 Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom

2016 Senator-elect Kamala Harris

2017 State Senate Leader Kevin de León

2018 Dominating Democrats

2019 Assembymember Lorena Gonzalez and state Senator Scott Wiener

2020 Covid-19 and Governor Gavin Newsom