Gavin Newsom is a Democratic politician and the 40th governor of California, entering office in January 2019. With over 20 years of political experience in the Golden State, Newsom previously served as the lieutenant governor of California from 2011 to 2019 and was elected the mayor of San Francisco in 2004. As the leader of the biggest and most populated state, Newsom is considered one of the country's most influential Democrats.
Newsom is a native of San Francisco, the son of William Newsom, an appeal judge for California Courts. Before he entered elected office, Newsom worked in the private sector, starting a winery funding he raised from investors, including billionaire Gordon Getty. Newsom eventually sold his winery shares in 2004 after being elected mayor of San Francisco.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, Newsom faced widespread criticism after he was pictured breaking his own health guidelines while dining inside a luxurious restaurant in Napa Valley. The image showed Newsom dining maskless with a large group of close friends and political allies, including California lobbyists, while celebrating his birthday. The scandal helped grow support around the effort to recall the governor, gaining more than 2 million signatures to trigger a recall election.
However, Newsom went on to defeat the recall attempt by over 3 million votes, defeating conservative talk show host Larry Elder, former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, and a dozen other candidates. He will face another election in November 2022, but has already won the state's Democratic nomination with 61% of the vote.
Under Newsom's administration, California has seen a large exodus of its urban and rural population to other states such as Texas and Florida. Many experts have blamed the depopulation partly due to the state's high living costs for gas and rent and Newsom's tax policy — the highest in the nation.