Gavin Newsom wasn’t born rich, but he was born connected — and those alliances have paid handsome dividends throughout his career.
A coterie of San Francisco’s wealthiest families has backed him at every step of his political rise, which in November could lead next to his election as governor of California.
San Francisco society’s “first families” — whose names grace museum galleries, charity ball invitations and hospital wards — settled on Newsom, 50, as their favored candidate two decades ago, said Willie Brown, former state Assembly speaker and former mayor of the city.
“He came from their world, and that’s why they embraced him without hesitancy and over and above everybody else,” said Brown, who is a mentor to Newsom. “They didn’t need to interview him. They knew what he stood for.”
A Times review of campaign finance records identified eight of San Francisco’s best-known families as being among Newsom’s most loyal and long-term contributors. Among those patrons are the Gettys, the Pritzkers and the Fishers, whose families made their respective fortunes in oil, hotels and fashion. They first backed him when he was a restaurateur and winery owner running for county supervisor in 1998, and have continued their support through the governor’s race.
They are not Newsom’s largest donors: The families in total have given about $2 million of the $61 million that donors have contributed to his campaigns and independent committees backing those bids. But they gave while he was a relative unknown, providing crucial support to a political newcomer in the years before his campaign accounts piled high with cash from labor unions, Hollywood honchos, tech billionaires and donors up and down the state.
Read the rest here: http://www.latimes.com/projects/la-pol-ca-gavin-newsom-san-francisco-money/