California Democrats Don't Endorse in Governor's Race

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State Treasurer John Chiang walks though the California Democratic convention in San Diego. (Katie Orr/KQED)

After a weekend of trying to woo delegates at their state convention, none of the Democratic gubernatorial candidates was able to win enough support to secure the party's endorsement, which required 60 percent of the delegate vote.

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom garnered the most support, with 39 percent of the votes. State Treasurer John Chiang came in second with 30 percent, followed by former State Superintendent of Public Instruction Delaine Eastin with 20 percent. Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa came in a distant fourth with 9 percent of the vote.

It was a rough weekend for Villaraigosa, who polls show pulling closer to race front-runner Newsom. Many of those at the convention were union members, and Villaraigosa was often at odds with teachers unions while he was mayor of L.A. During the convention's Labor Caucus meeting, Villaraigosa was loudly booed when he began to speak. Still, he tried to tout his labor credentials.

"I was a steward, chief steward and president of a union at 25 years old," he said. "I've been fighting for working people my entire life."

Newsom has been endorsed by several large unions, including the California Teachers Association and SEIU. He seemed to have much more traction with the crowd, drawing cheers and chants throughout the weekend -- though, with such a crowded field, it was unlikely Newsom would be able to secure the party's endorsement.


Still, Chiang pounced on the results, saying in a press release that Newsom had underperformed. Chiang's supporters filled the hallways and meeting rooms during the convention. During his speech, Chiang touted his financial background.

"You deserve a governor with the experience to move a progressive vision forward," he said. "Not just someone who talks a good game, but someone with the know-how to put our state in the fiscal position to actually get things done."

It was a good weekend for Eastin, too, who pulled in 20 percent of the delegate vote despite garnering only 4 percent support in a recent poll. Still, Eastin and Chiang have a lot of work to do to catch Villaraigosa and Newsom, and they have only three months until the June primary.