Tuesday, February 14, 2017

John Chiang's bid for California governorship cannot be ignored

John Chiang, front right, joined demonstrators protesting President Trump's Muslim ban.
STATE TREASURER JOHN CHIANG'S campaign for Governor of California is picking up speed after winning the endorsement of an influential Democrat.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Chiang’s most recent financial report revealed that he raised $4.2 million in 2016, almost matching the amount raised by Democratic frontrunner Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom in the same year.

Chiang, the state treasurer, has less name recognition than several of his opponents, but he picked up the early endorsement of Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Paramount) on Tuesday. Though not a household name, Rendon is one of the most influential politicians in the state.

“[This] makes John Chiang the candidate to watch in the race. Between an endorsement like this and the fundraising string that John Chiang has shown in the campaign, it’s clear that this is at least a two-person race — it’s probably going to be a three- or four-person race,” Democratic political consultant Katie Merrill said to the Los Angeles Times. “There is no clear front-runner now.”

Newsom announced he was running for Governor in January 2015, almost four years before the election in 2018. He currently leads in fundraising.

Chiang jumped into the race in May 2016, followed by former California superintendent of public instruction Delaine Eastin in November, then former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

Despite winning three statewide elections, one for treasurer and two for controller, Chiang is less known statewide than Newsom and Villaraigosa, who became top contenders as soon as they entered.

“Even though Chiang has had a lower profile than Newsom and Villaraigosa, his fundraising and endorsements like this make him an even bet in the field,” said Dan Schnur, Professor at USC’s Annenberg School for Communication, according to the Los Angeles Times. “He’s the undervalued stock in the governor’s race.”