Bitcoin-Friendly Gavin Newsom Leads 2018 California Gubernatorial Race

California Lt. Gov. Newsom is a favorite to take Democrat Jerry Brown’s place as the 2018 gubernatorial race Democratic candidate, meaning a Bitcoin and technology friendly politician could lead a state that regularly votes Democratic.

Newsom currently leads others in the race, from both parties, with 23 percent of registered voters.

The poll was released late Monday in order to delineate how the future political contest may take shape. Mr. Newsom is ahead of two Democratic rivals already in the race, like former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and state Treasurer John Chiang.

The state’s primary system means the top two finishers will runoff regardless of party affiliation. Polls suggest a well-established Republican has a strong chance of making the ballot, like second favorite to enter the race, Republican Mayor Kevin Faulconer, who has not outlined a Bitcoin policy, though did once meet with a San Diego-based Bitcoin startup by chance. 

Mr. Newsom is supported by Democrats and unaffiliated voters, particularly Northern Californians. 

He has accepted bitcoins for past political campaigns, and has always tried to come across as a technology-forward politician. Mr. Newsom is perhaps more high profile than another well-known Bitcoin accepting politician, Republican Rand Paul.

Mr. Newsom ran for re-election for Lieutenant Governor in 2014, accepting Bitcoin back then thanks in large part by the advising of Silicon Valley Venture Capitalist, and Bitcoin investor, Marc Andreessen.

The Federal Election Commission (FEC) approved in May paving the way for Bitcoin contributions.

“I’ve never been a fan of pretense or procrastination,” Newsom states on his website announcing his 2018 bid for governor. “After all, our state is defined by its independent, outspoken spirit. When Californians see something we truly believe in, we say so and act accordingly – without evasiveness or equivocation.

“So today I’m announcing that I’m creating a committee to run for California Governor in 2018. Because I truly and passionately believe in the future of this great state. Today, Californians are blessed with the remarkable leadership of Governor Jerry Brown, who in the face of long odds has led our state to firm fiscal footing and brought us to the enviable position of dreaming – and achieving – big dreams again. Even so, long-term challenges remain daunting – we must continue to grow our economy and create private-sector jobs, we must invest in public education and keep college affordable, we must address the widening inequalities that separate our communities and we must maintain California’s historic leadership in meeting the climate challenge.”

Newsom has long been pro-technology, and often speaks on how government technology is stuck in the past.

Image from Wikimedia.

Justin O'Connell is the founder of financial technology focused Justin organized the launch of the largest Bitcoin ATM hardware and software provider in the world at the historical Hotel del Coronado in southern California. His works appear in the U.S.'s third largest weekly, the San Diego Reader, VICE and elsewhere.