Mayor Gavin Newsom today accused Attorney General Jerry Brown of spreading lies that the mayor plans to pull out of the governor’s race and instead run for lieutenant governor – on Brown’s ticket.
“You [reporters] have to put to rest the absurdity,” Newsom said at an unrelated event this afternoon. “It’s Jerry Brown who is putting those rumors out, and you guys shouldn’t be taking the bait on that.”
The rumors surfaced after polls showed Newsom was trailing Brown in the 2010 governor’s race. They were also fueled by reports that Newsom is largely trailing Brown in fundraising. Brown has not even officially declared he is running for governor.
Brown raised $3.5 million in the first six months of the year under the guise that he is running for reelection to his current post, according to the Secretary of State Web site. The Web site showed he had $7.4 million saved up after the June 30 filing deadline.
“Jerry has never said that Newsom is dropping out of the race,” said Steve Glazer, Brown's senior adviser. “We do know that supporters of Newsom’s have suggested that option, due to the fact that he has not gained traction in the Governor’s race, and they want him to be successful.”
Newsom collected $1.7 million during the first half of the year, and had even less saved up, the Web site indicates.
The mayor has been battling reports that his inability to fundraise will hurt his chances of being elected to the state’s top post. He said he’s raised way more than everything thinks: $4.5 million was the number he quoted at today’s news conference.
Political insiders have also doomed Newsom’s campaign following reports that a high-profile endorsement by former President Bill Clinton did not prove fruitful for the mayor. A fundraiser with Clinton in Los Angeles did not lead to very many donations of more than $5,000.
Nick Clemons, Newsom’s campaign manager, said reporters are not getting the full story by searching the Secretary of State’s Web site.
“Ticket prices for this event started at $500 and went up to $5000, so most of the money we did not have to report,” Clemons said. “Also, several people who attended the VIP portion of the event raised $5000 rather than write $5000, so the money they raised did not need to be reported.”
The campaign is using the tactic that helped Barack Obama become president – “grassroots fundraising.” While big donations are important, Newsom has been getting a lot of little ones, Clemons said.
“We just broke 5,000 online donations – almost 8 months before the primary!” the mayor recently announced on Facebook.
And winning a governor’s race is not all about fundraising, Newsom said.
“If the entire campaign is just who raises more money, than we shouldn’t do anything except just sit on the phone and dial for dollars,” he said today.
And he said the fundraising train is far from over.
“We’re going to raise a lot of money, and we’ve raised a lot of money,” Newsom said.