Tag Archives: Garry South

Could Newsom Become the Phil Angelides of 2010?

Mayor Gavin Newsom has entered the race for Lieutenant Governor, a job he ridiculed while running for Governor – and his supporters include San Francisco progressives who figure it’s an opportunity to get rid of him.  Nonetheless, an endorsement list that includes House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the California Teachers Association and Sacramento’s legislative leaders (along with an opponent with unimpressive fundraising totals) should make Newsom the front-runner for the Democratic primary.  But it won’t be pretty – given that Garry South (who ran his gubernatorial campaign) now works for his competitor, L.A. City Councilmember Janice Hahn.  The Hahn campaign has been vicious on Gavin so far, using the kind of scorched-earth tactics that South is famous for.  Newsom may win the nomination on June 8th, but he could end up suffering the same fate as Garry South’s last victim.  Phil Angelides had much of the Democratic leadership behind him when he ran for Governor, but only won the primary after a bruising fight with South client Steve Westly.  And it left him so bloodied that he went on to lose the general election by a landslide.

As a student of San Francisco politics, I’ve found the local chatter in the past few weeks surrounding Gavin Newsom’s run for Lieutenant Governor to be just plain bizarre.

His allies in the business community are incensed that he’d abandon the city to become Jerry Brown’s bridesmaid – and (God forbid) allow those crazy lefties on the Board of Supervisors to pick the next mayor.  Chuck Nevius’ column in the SF Chronicle last week read like it came from a jilted lover.   “Newsom wasn’t supposed to be the average career politician,” he lamented.  “Now he’s Gray Davis.”

Meanwhile, progressive are all too eager to show Gavin the door.  Supervisor Chris Daly, who once suggested at a public meeting that the Mayor was a cokehead, has endorsed him – and I’ve heard from tenant activists who now say that they will walk precincts for Newsom.  How in the world could any politician win statewide office, when your closest friends don’t want you to run – and your rivals are delighted to see you take the plunge?

But believe it or not, Newsom is poised to win the nomination on June 8th.  State Senator Dean Florez dropped out of the race the minute he got in, saying Gavin “commands a formidable lead that would be hard to surmount.”  And the Newsom camp sent out a list of endorsements that includes House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Assembly Speaker John Perez, State Senate President Darrell Steinberg, the California Nurses Association, the California Teachers Association, the UFCW Western State Council and Dolores Huerta.

The fundraising totals of his sole Democratic rival – Los Angeles Councilmember Janice Hahn – are also worth considering.  As of December 31st, Hahn had only raised $421,000 – and reported a cash-on-hand total of $341,000.  For comparison’s sake, at this stage of the Lieutenant Governor’s race four years ago John Garamendi had raised over $1.37 million – while his Democratic rival Jackie Speier was at approximately $1.28 million.

But Hahn has something Newsom lacks – Garry South, who was the Mayor’s chief strategist until he dropped out of the Governor’s race.  South, who worked for Gray Davis in 1998 and 2002, is the sole Democratic consultant in California to have run a successful campaign for Governor in 25 years – something not to be sneezed at.  And it was viewed as quite a coup when Newsom initially retained him in 2008.

And while Hahn’s fundraising leaves much to be desired, Gavin has the same problem.  The Mayor can transfer his defunct gubernatorial campaign account to the race for Lieutenant Governor, but there isn’t much left of it – only $40,000 as of December 31st.

Granted, Newsom raised over $2 million last year – and can now go back to his donors and ask again.  But while state law lets contributors give up to $25,900 to gubernatorial candidates, the Lieutenant Governor’s race limits donations to $6,500.  A quick look at Newsom’s campaign for Governor shows that over $1 million came from donations exceeding that amount, and half a million from contributors who gave over $20,000.  In other words, he won’t be able to raise $2 million from those people.

And with Garry South now running Hahn’s campaign, the attacks on Newsom have been brutal.  Gavin had disparaged the role of Lieutenant Governor before opting to run, even publicly admitting he had no idea what the job does – a point the Hahn campaign has fully taken advantage of.  But South has gone so far as to betray the confidence of his ex-client – divulging private statements Newsom made when South consulted him, where the Mayor had told him he was no “Gray Davis.”

Of course, we can expect nothing less from Garry South.  Known in California politics as the “King of Mean,” South has a long history of running scorched-earth campaigns – the most recent example being in 2006, when he ran Steve Westly’s campaign for Governor.  

In that race, Westly’s rival – Phil Angelides – had the endorsement of Senators Dianne Feinstein, Barbara Boxer and most of the Democratic Party establishment in the primary.  But in what can only be described as a muder-suicide pact, South waged an intensely negative effort against Angelides – leaving the bloodied front-runner limping past the finish line in June when it was all over.  

South then spent the whole summer and fall denouncing Angelides as a “weak nominee” who could not beat Governor Schwarzenegger, rendering it a self-fulfilling prophecy.  Many Democrats (including myself) will never forgive South for that conduct.

Could the same happen to Newsom if he beats Hahn?  The likely G.O.P. nominee – Abel Maldonado – lacks Arnold’s celebrity status, but has cultivated a moderate image that will make him tough to beat – especially in a year where Democratic turnout could be dangerously low.

Newsom could and should win the primary on June 8th, but his progressive rivals in San Francisco shouldn’t be celebrating a new Mayor just yet.  Gavin will still have to face a Republican in November, and if Garry South has his way he might not win that election.

Paul Hogarth is the Managing Editor of BeyondChron, San Francisco’s Alternative Online Daily, where this piece was first published.

An Open Letter to Garry South


Please resign.

For the good of the progressive movement, for the good of the state of California, and for the good of your candidate, Janice Hahn, you should resign your post as chief strategist to the Hahn campaign.

In this time of profound economic and political crisis, California deserves a campaign that is focused on solving the issues that have brought our state to its knees, a campaign focused on restoring the California Dream. Petty attacks like those you have begun to level against other candidates — including attacks on Jerry Brown’s age — not only distract from those issues, but they undermine your own candidate.

Your attack on Gavin Newsom is highly unethical. (See below the fold.) By using against him conversations you held with Newsom while he was a client of yours you are not only breaching the trust you held as a senior advisor to Newsom’s gubernatorial campaign, you are also potentially making Newsom into a sympathetic figure, further undermining Hahn’s cause.

Janice Hahn has a lot to offer Californians — she is a successful local government official who has a long record of effectively implementing progressive policies. She has built a considerable amount of support across the state during her campaign because of her pledge to bring a local government perspective to a profoundly broken state government. You risk undoing that work by resorting to your typical, failed approach of attacking the opponent instead of showing the electorate why your candidate deserves their support.

We write not as supporters of any particular candidate or potential candidate, but as progressive Californians who are sick of watching you run promising campaigns into the ground with your destructive style of vicious personal attacks. All you accomplish is electing Republicans. Do the ethical and honorable thing and resign from the Hahn campaign immediately.


Dante Atkins

Calitics Editorial Board

Robert Cruickshank

Public Policy Director, Courage Campaign

Marta Evry

Venice for Change

Rick Jacobs

Founder & Chair, Courage Campaign

Brian Leubitz

Calitics Editorial Board

Julia Rosen

Online Political Director, Courage Campaign

Shayera Tangri

Dan Ancona

Joel Wright

David Atkins

Note: for an in-depth explanation of why Garry South is a disaster for Democratic candidates, peruse the open letter Calitics posted laying out South’s failures in January 2007.

Note 2: It should be emphasized that this isn’t really about Janice Hahn, we were impressed with her during our interview last year. But Garry South is really doing her a disservice over the last few weeks. Mudslinging just isn’t the way to win a Democratic primary.




I am surprised and perplexed that my friend and former client Mayor Gavin Newsom apparently has decided to jump into the lieutenant governor’s race at the last minute – especially against an already-announced candidate who would be the first woman lieutenant governor in California history.

In every one of several conversations we had about the job while he was running for governor, the Mayor expressed nothing but disinterest in and disdain for the office of lieutenant governor. In fact, he was derisively dismissive of Gray Davis’s decision to run for and serve as lieutenant governor prior to running for governor (“I’m not a Gray Davis,” he said). On a couple of occasions, he directed me to repudiate publicly in the strongest terms that he had any interest in ever running for lieutenant governor.

The Mayor himself told the Chronicle in October that rumors he may run for lieutenant governor were “absurd” and “a complete lie,” and angrily accused Jerry Brown of personally spreading false information to that effect. As recently as December, he himself said flatly “no” when asked directly on a San Francisco radio show whether he intended to run for lieutenant governor.

In addition, when he precipitously pulled out of the governor’s race in late October – against my advice – he said he couldn’t continue as a statewide candidate because he was a husband, a new father and the mayor of San Francisco. So far as I know, he’s still a husband, a new father and the mayor of San Francisco. So it’s pretty hard to see what’s changed over the last four months that would now allow him to run for another statewide office.

If the Mayor does run, it is his responsibility to explain why he now claims to want an elected office he summarily dismissed publicly numerous times over the last several months, and which just earlier this year he called “a largely ceremonial post” … “with no real authority and no real portfolio.”

Paid for by the Janice Hahn Lieutenant Governor 2010 Committee

777 S. Figueroa Street, Suite 4050, Los Angeles, CA 90017

CA-Gov: The He-Said/He-Said Rumors of Garry South’s Demands on Newsom

On Monday, Mayor Sam reported some rumors that were floating around the political world, that Garry South had told Gavin to raise $5 million by the end of the year or drop out.

Today, CalBuzz got the story from the horse’s mouth, and boy, is it an angry mouth.  

“This is complete, utter bullshit, and I categorically deny it.  “Mayor Sam” never talked to me to pass any of these hearsay assertions by me, and he is just picking up and disseminating intentional disinformation from the Brown camp – including Brown himself, who’s too busy “doing his job as AG” to debate, but has time to hang on the phone in his Oakland loft starting and spreading rumors about Newsom.  I don’t give my candidates ultimatums of any sort.” (CalBuzz 10/07/09)

Mayor Sam responded this morning to South’s rant.

The thrust of our piece Monday was that Newsom has had such major trouble collecting any real campaign jack the San Francisco Mayor had to throw a hail mary pass and roll out a way earlier than usual endorsement of a former POTUS – Bill “BJ” Clinton in an LA photo opp at a green college building earlier this week. (Mayor Sam 10/07/09)

In the end, I sort of believe South on this one. It just doesn’t seem like South to tell a paying client to drop out of a race. And, as he pointed out, he did stay with some rather big underdogs in the form of Gray Davis and Steve Westly when they were polling quite low.  That being said, Davis was a pretty good fundraiser and Westly could self-fund.

I would be very surprised to see Newsom drop out of the race early, nor do I think it would be good for the state.  A vigorous exchange of ideas (not mud) is critical to ensure that the Democratic nominee supports, or at least understands, the goals of the progressive grassroots.  

CA-GOV: Newsom Gets Needed Boost From Bill Clinton

Gavin Newsom’s campaign hasn’t exactly been soaring lately.  His fundraising numbers are rather disappointing when compared with Jerry Brown’s robust numbers, he fired/lost his closest, and best, adviser, while keeping one who kind of despises the grassroots. Oh, and then there’s the SF Weekly article sort of ripping him to shreds.

But all is not lost for the dashingly slick mayor of the City of St. Francis. He’s getting some big time help. From a press release:

San Francisco, CA – Former President Bill Clinton and San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom will participate in two events together in Los

Angeles on October 5, the Newsom for California campaign announced today. One event will be a fundraiser to benefit the Mayor’s primary

campaign for governor.

“President Clinton’s record of achievement as president and as a senior statesman is inspiring to all Democrats,” said Newsom. “I am truly honored that he will join me in October.”

If there is one thing that the Big Dog can do, other than rescue reporters, it is raise money. The fundraiser and appearance will give Newsom a desperately needed boost at a time when Jerry Brown is running away with a race that he hasn’t actually entered yet.

It is going to take more than a couple of campaign stops for the Newsom campaign to really challenge the Jerry Brown Express, yet, if you had to pick a name that would help in a Democratic primary, Bill Clinton would be pretty high on that list.

UPDATE by Dave: ABC News has a report.  A (public?) event is reportedly scheduled to be held in October in East Los Angeles, a largely Latino area.  The real benefit of this endorsement will come if Newsom can tap in to the ground effort that Hillary Clinton used so well to defeat Barack Obama, particularly in the Latino and Asian communities.

Why California Democrats Need a Clean Primary Campaign

(Some thoughts from the current San Francisco Democratic Party Chair and former president of the Board of Supes on the role of a clean campaign in electing a Democratic Governor. – promoted by Brian Leubitz)

In the past month, the political spin doctors behind Mayor Gavin Newsom have been boasting about their intent to run a negative campaign against their most likely Democratic opponent for Governor – California’s Attorney General and former Governor Jerry Brown.

In just the latest round of personal attacks, Newsom strategist Garry South attacked Brown in print for having taken “more positions than in the Karma Sutra.” I will leave it to Mayor Newsom to explain why his staff is making references to sex manuals, particularly given his own recent scandals. But this latest detour into political trash talk illustrates why Democrats across California need to be concerned with Newsom’s intent to launch a negative campaign.

As Chair of the San Francisco Democratic Party, my mission is to help make sure we elect a Democratic governor in November of 2010. The latest series of devastating state cuts to services for children and seniors is another reminder of just how important it is for our party to win back the governor’s office in Sacramento.

Edit By Brian for space, see the flip…

Achieving this most important goal is going to be difficult enough for Democrats, considering the challenging history of California gubernatorial elections and the hard reality that the Republicans are likely to nominate either Meg Whitman or Steve Poizner, either of whom can pour tens of millions of personal dollars into their own campaigns. Newsom’s own strategist acknowledges just how difficult it is for Democrats to win California Gubernatorial elections.

But if Newsom continues his negative campaign, we will almost certainly emerge in June with a divided party and a weakened nominee. The only beneficiary of such a strategy will be the Republicans.

After pledging to run a netroots-driven campaign that could “change California,” Newsom is now resorting the most traditional form of electioneering – raising money from special interests and using those funds to attack his opponent.

Democrats need to be concerned about this change of strategy because of the logical consequences of such a campaign. If Newsom continues to attack Brown, particularly in such a personal and juvenile fashion, he will both depress grassroots enthusiasm and ultimately draw a response.

Having served with Newsom on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, and having worked both with him and against him depending on the policy when I served as President of the Board during his mayoral administration, I know just how vulnerable Newsom is to the counter-attacks his negative strategy will draw.

Newsom’s personal and political vulnerabilities are legion, and well known to San Franciscans who have followed his career. Why he is throwing stones, considering the brittle consistency of his own political house, is mysterious.

But his constant attacks, and the counter-attacks that could shatter his own candidacy, will leave our party weak and dispirited going into one of the most important gubernatorial elections in recent history.

As Democrats, we need to make sure this does not happen. That’s why both the Democratic parties of San Francisco and Los Angeles Counties have passed Clean Campaign resolutions, urging Newsom, and any other candidate who enters the race, to agree to a positive campaign.

Newsom has so far refused to sign this pledge. But we hope that the netroots will hold him accountable and help us encourage him to stop the attacks and return to a clean campaign.

Chronicle Assigns Garry South Ally to Attack Brown

Less than 48 hours after “King of Mean” Garry South was left calling the shots in the Gavin Newsom campaign for Governor, the SF Chronicle had a front-page piece attacking Jerry Brown.  Apparently, Brown fundraising for his favorite charities carries all sorts of “conflict-of-interest” allegations that voters should be mindful about in next year’s election.  But this wasn’t the first time reporter Carla Marinucci went on the attack to help Garry South’s clients.  In the last gubernatorial race, Marinucci used her perch at the Chronicle to repeatedly go after rival Phil Angelides – who was locked in a nasty primary fight against South client Steve Westly.  On March 16, 2006, Marinucci wrote a story on Angelides that strangely resembled yesterday’s piece on Brown – attacking the state Treasurer for raising corporate donations to a non-profit.  South burned bridges in that race with his scorched-earth campaign against Angelides (and bad-mouthing the nominee after the primary was over), and it seems like he’s back to his old tricks.  But feeding stories to the Chronicle sounds like part of his modus operandi.

The 2006 Democratic primary fight between Steve Westly and Phil Angelides can best be described as a “murder-suicide pact” that accomplished nothing except re-elect Arnold Schwarzenegger.  But while Angelides spent his time criticizing Westly’s positions (he attacked him for being “too close” to the Governor), Westly ran a smear campaign on Angelides that involved his connection with developers, a Lake Tahoe dredging project and a history of corporate fundraising.  It was classic Garry South tactics: throw a ton of money behind attack ads that tear down your rival, leaving everyone bloodied in the end.

And right there to rev up the engines under the guise of media “objectivity” was Carla Marinucci.  Her front-page Chronicle story on May 31, 2006 – one week before the election – focused on Angelides’ ties with real estate developer Angelo Tsakopoulos, repeating the Westly campaign’s discredited charge about connections with illegal dumping in Lake Tahoe.  Marinucci wrote numerous op-eds masquerading as “news analysis” during the race that made Angelides look bad, such as her May 1st piece that said he faced an “uphill climb” at winning the nomination, right after getting the Democratic Party’s endorsement.

Garry South didn’t stop his attacks on Angelides after his candidate lost the primary, and neither did the Chronicle’s Marinucci.  Barely two days after the nomination fight was over, she had another front-page “news analysis” that said Angelides would have to sell his platform to a “reluctant electorate.”  It was in that article where she quoted South as saying: “it would be hard to single out [Angelides’] biggest liability because he’s a walking Achilles heel … Arnold and his Karl Rove-trained wrecking crew will tear the guy apart, atom by atom.”  That piece set the tone for the rest of the campaign season, and Angelides went on to lose badly to Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Yesterday’s attack on Jerry Brown was odd, because it’s not unusual for high-profile career politicians like Brown to fundraise for various charities – with donations coming from corporations.  Gavin Newsom does the same – such as the party he threw in Denver at the Democratic National Convention, which was sponsored by AT&T and PG&E.  But the implication of Marinucci’s article was clear – corporations will influence Jerry Brown by giving money to his favorite charities (where there are no donation limits), rather than contributing directly to his campaign.

But what makes this interesting is that Marinucci made almost the same accusation about Phil Angelides, back in 2006.  In a story published on March 16 as he faced Garry South’s candidate, Marinucci dredged up an 17-year-old story about Angelides raising wads of cash from corporate donors to the California Legislative Forum.  Just like her latest attack on Brown, Marinucci alleged the state Treasurer had found an end-run around campaign contribution limits to help rich donors influence elected officials.

At the time, my colleague Randy Shaw panned the story as a “classic example” of political propaganda.  “Arnold [Schwarzenegger] has raised millions from special interests while serving as California’s Governor,” he wrote.  “Angelides did his fundraising as a private citizen … There’s quite a difference between a Governor raising money from the special interests whose operations he oversees, and a private fundraiser who has no authority or influence over potential donors.”

Garry South ran Steve Westly’s campaign against Phil Angelides, and with Eric Jaye’s exit is now the chief strategist in Gavin Newsom’s campaign against Jerry Brown.  One can expect a seasoned campaign operative to push a partisan story against an opponent, although few do it as brazenly as South.  If the stories against Angelides and Brown had come directly from South, everyone would know the messenger had his own agenda.

But when the top political reporter of a major newspaper takes such attacks and puts them on the front page as “news,” it creates a serious problem with the public trust.  Marinucci appears to have recycled the same line of attack against Brown she used for Angelides, which calls into question whether Garry South is feeding her these stories.  It also sheds light on the Newsom campaign’s new strategy, and the direction South is taking it.

Paul Hogarth is the Managing Editor of Beyond Chron, San Francisco’s Alternative Online Daily, where this piece was first published.

Gavin Newsom Blowing $20,000 a Month on Joe Lieberman’s Consultant

With California’s budget crisis, Gavin Newsom still pays for the DLC consultants while he cuts vital services in San Francisco?

Twenty thousand dollars a month for Garry South? As in that Garry South. As in the open letter not to hire Garry South lead by Calitics?

So who is this man, Garry South?  He may not be the most well-known figure in California politics.  He doesn’t have the name recognition of an Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Darrel Issa, or even a Tom McClintock, but he’s caused more harm to the State Democratic Party than those three could wish for in their grandest dreams.

Twenty thousand dollars a month for this? No wonder Gavin Newsom can’t raise as much cash compared to when he ran for mayor.

The Newsom Campaign Team

SF Mayor Gavin Newsom has announced a campaign team for his run at the governorship in 2010.  In this respect, he gets a jump over any other candidates, potential or announced.  However, if you have read Calitics for any length of time, something in the following PolitickerCA story will stick out to you:

SAN FRANCISCO – Famed California political strategist Garry South has joined Mayor Gavin Newsom’s 2010 gubernatorial exploratory committee, a spokesman for the committee announced this morning.


Exploratory committee spokesman Eric Jaye also announced that the committee has retained influential political polling firm, Benenson Strategy Group, and its principals Joel Benenson, chief pollster for U.S. Senator and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama and Peter Brodnitz … will join the exploratory effort.

It’s an interesting team, once you throw in campaign manager and former Hillary NH state director Nick Clemons. But, of course, the elephant in the room is the Lieberman strategist Garry South.  Garry and I don’t have the best relationship.

Personal feelings aside, I still believe that he is a force for milquetoasty centrist policies. I’ll leave it up to you whether you think that’s a good thing in an adviser. Now, you can debate whether Newsom is as sculptable as Davis, but I’m sure there will be plenty of eyes on Newsom to see if he runs this primary campaign as a California Lieberman or as a California Wellstone. Of course there’s a big spectrum between those two styles.

South, at least in his previous campaigns, was none too fond of people-powered campaigns or the broader movement. Let’s just say, he was not empowered by Howard (Dean) and the internet. Time will tell if he recreates his past “success” with Newsom.

2010 Democratic Gubernatorial Primary

Lots of early positioning in the last week, especially the news from Senator Dianne Feinstein that she would make a decision as to running in the new year (translation: don’t write checks to other candidates during the reporting period that ends…at the end of the year).

On a conference call with bloggers, Lt. Governor John Garamendi noted that he’d be announcing a campaign manager in a bit, but couldn’t say the name now. Let the speculation begin.

Carla Marinucci looked at who will land Ace Smith, who has a stellar reputation. Carla was tipped about Smith joining a Jerry Brown for Governor facebook group (currently standing at 63 members), but I think we all need to remember joining a facebook group is not an endorsement, as Smith pointed out. Of course, the story looked at how Smith has recently worked for both Attorney General Jerry Brown and LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. It should be noted, neither have a facebook page of their own…

More discussion on Gavin Newsom getting busted with Garry South. Randy Shaw said, “for all of his unpopularity with bloggers, the traditional media, progressives and politicians, Garry South was likely the most experienced and competent campaign manager available.” Tim Redmond brushed it off because, “anyone who thinks Newsom will run for governor as a San Francisco progressive hasn’t been paying attention to the mayor’s history and career. He ran for mayor the first time as a pro-business moderate, and that’s how he’ll run for governor.”

In Brian’s Open Letter on Garry South, he wrote:

As the presidential campaigns staff up in California and across the nation, I implore them, for their own sake, to stay away from Mr. South.  This state is sick of his apparent disdain for the base of the Democratic party.  Furthermore, his triangulation for every candidate that he has managed has ultimately led to an erosion of the Democratic brand.  If you care to read George Lakoff’s books, you will see that South violates pretty much every suggestion provided by the progressive movement’s greatest linguist.

I do not intend to make idle threats, but there is no surer way to writing off the support of the netroots in California than hiring Garry South. In fact, Mr. South has received votes of no-confidence from national blogs as well.

Which, South proved on Newsom’s signature issue, when he actually went to the right of Al From (Newsom is a long-time DLC member):

Al From, who heads the moderate Democratic Leadership Council, which highlighted Newsom among two dozen rising stars last month at its conference in Aspen, believes that Newsom “may have gotten a little bit ahead of himself with gay marriage — but the country as a whole will catch up.”

From said the bigger issue is that Newsom is “not afraid of change. That can only bode well for someone who has a good future in politics.”

Not all Democrats are so unfailingly positive about Newsom’s political future. Veteran Democratic consultant Garry South said Newsom is “a very attractive, very intelligent new political figure on the California scene,” and one who has shown gutsy moves in areas like tackling the homeless problem and improving the city’s business environment.

Still, South warned that same-sex marriage illustrated “the danger he faces is believing that San Francisco politics is just a smaller version of California statewide politics.”

In clearing the way for marriages previously rejected by California’s voters, South said Newsom embarked on “an unfortunate and somewhat self- indulgent move … that had some effect on the presidential campaign.”

“I can’t say that John Kerry would have won (without the issue),” South said, “but it was certainly not helpful to have our Democratic ticket having to campaign in states like Ohio which had a gay marriage thing on the ballot.”

Republicans such as Sen. John McCain of Arizona agreed that Newsom’s moves on same-sex marriage “absolutely” aided the Republican effort to re- elect Bush in 2004. emphasis added

What are you hearing about the early positioning?

CA-Gov 2010: Blogger Busts Gavin Newsom with Garry South

Score another win for the internet exposing the ugly underbelly of transactional politics at it’s worst. A SoCal Blogger started rolling his camera when Gavin Newsom parked his SUV in a fire lane for a meeting at Starbucks. It didn’t take long for Carla Marinucci to notice the person he was meeting with, DLC Strategist Garry South.

Who is Garry South? Joe Lieberman announced he was running for president on Janunary 13, 2003. A January 16-20, 2003 ABC News/Washington Post Poll had Lieberman the clear front-runner, with more support than his next two closest competitors combined. Then Lieberman hired Gary South, started tanking, then started talking about Joementum just before calling his FIFTH place finish a three way tie for third. David Letterman said, “Because of poor results at the primaries last night, Senator Joe Lieberman will be dropping out of the race. Earlier today, he broke the news to his supporter.” Lieberman was subsequently kicked out of the Democratic Party.

Garry South elected Gray Davis with an impressive 58% and drove him so far south that he was kicked out by 55%. Jay Leno said, “Another hot day in California. It was so hot I actually saw a mirage. It was a Gray Davis supporter, I couldn’t believe it.” Steve Westly had all the money in the world, double digit lead two months out and ended up losing by 5 points thanks to Garry South. His DLC triangulation (Mayor Newsom is a long time DLC member) is so bad that many California bloggers signed on to an an open letter warning the presidential candidates about Garry South (must read, long but exposes exactly why this is the last person Newsom wants to get busted by bloggers with).

Interestingly enough, this is not even one of the better scandals the mayor has had online. This doesn’t come close to the sock-puppet-gate scandal that brought down his press secretary. Jennifer Siebel thought a good follow-up on that would be to go to SFist and make front page news. Then, just two weeks ago, Newsom thought a bloggers convention would be a good venue to come out against clean energy. The internet sure is going to be a fun place to watch the 2010 Democratic Primary play out.