SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Giving supporters high fives and accompanied by his wife and young son, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom filed papers to officially enter the 2018 gubernatorial race at San Francisco City Hall on Monday.
The filing comes as Newsom has seen his lead over former two-term Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa in the pre-election polls slip to five percentage points or less in recent weeks.
And just hours earlier, Villaraigosa challenged Newsom to a one-on-one debate over a state-sponsored single-payer healthcare system.
“Enough with the slogans — it’s time to show real leadership and have a serious in-depth discussion,” Villaraigosa said in a statement sent to the news media Monday.
Newsom, the former mayor of San Francisco, was accompanied to his old stomping ground by his wife, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, and young son Dutch.
He said the 2018 campaign has gained added importance because of the actions of the Trump administration.
“At the end of the day, we can lament about what’s going on or not happening in Washington, D.C,” he said. “The impact that we have in California is outsized and I think we have a campaign where we are not just offering candidates to head the resistance. This is an opportunity to shape the future not just of this state but this nation.”
“I look at California as a cause. California as a movement. California that punches above its weight. We’ve done it on climate change. We have the opportunity now to do it on immigration, on health care policy and an opportunity to do it on economic growth and education reform. That’s why I think this moment is very important.”
Besides Villaraigosa, Newsom enters a race that includes in the Democratic field state treasurer John Chiang and former state superintendent of schools Delaine Eastin.
The Republican candidates include attorney John Cox, Orange County Assemblyman Travis Allen, former Congressman Doug Ose and Real Estate investor Zoltan Istvan.