Gavin Newsom is getting splashed with some Hollywood chic.
His gubernatorial campaign has a fundraiser chock full of industry heavyweights scheduled for late Thursday afternoon at Universal Studios.
Expected guests for the shindig, where tickets range from $1000 to $29,000, include Universal Pictures chair Donna Langley, NBCUniversal vice chairman Ron Meyer, directors J.J. Abrams and Steven Spielberg and Kate Capshaw, Universal Filmed Entertainment head Jeff Shell and wife Laura, Jeffrey and Marilyn Katzenberg, Starz chief Chris Albrecht, NBC Entertainment chief Robert Greenblatt, Comcast top guns Amy Banse and David L. Cohen, producer Kathleen Kennedy and former Paramount head Sherry Lansing.
The August 16 fundraiser is being held at celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck’s Studio Grill restaurant on the Universal lot. One industry insider, clearly impressed with himself, told Deadline.com that, “Gavin’s a northern California guy but he knows he needs southern California’s money to dominate this race.”
Maybe. Maybe not.
Newsom, currently the lieutenant governor, won a big victory in the June primary, finishing well ahead of prime Democratic challenger Antonio Villaraigosa and second-place finisher Republican businessman John Cox.
Newsom got 33.8% of the votes versus 13.2% for Villaraigosa, the former LA Mayor. Republican challenger John Cox received 26.2%.
Since then, Newsom has polled way ahead of Cox for the general election.
A poll of likely voters released late last month by the Public Policy Institute of California gave Newsom a 24 percent lead over Cox. Newsom got 55% to Cox’s 31%. Nine percent of those polled were undecided.
The gubernatorial contest sounds like it has become something of afterthought for Newsom as he tries to shore up his Party credentials by campaigning for congressional candidates in districts that Democrats are hoping to flip from Republican control so they can retake the House. His Republican opponent also seems focused on other thing than the Governor’s mansion.
As the Los Angeles Times reported last week, “Gavin Newsom and John Cox are preparing for a general election battle to decide who will be the state’s next governor, but much of what they plan to focus on has little to do with how either candidate would lead the state.”
Instead, both men are engaged in proxy campaigns for other candidates and causes.
“Front-runner Newsom will spend significant time trying to help Democrats flip seven California congressional seats that are crucial to the party’s efforts to retake the House, a win that would provide a counterweight to President Trump and his policies. Republican Cox will campaign for a ballot measure to repeal an increase in the state’s gas tax, hoping the effort lights a populist fire among California voters that draws in Democrats and independents.”
Democratic consultant Darry Sragow told the paper that Newsom playing a role in congressional races allows him to “foster a national presence without looking overly ambitious. It’s all upside, a lot of opportunity to do good deeds, win friends, influence people and stay out of trouble.”
Judging from the scheduled August 16 fundraiser it seems like some of the “people” he hopes to burnish his reputation with are the Hollywood elite.