In sit-down interview, Gavin Newsom discusses where he stands on issues ahead of election

Tuesday, October 23, 2018
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In a one-on-one interview with Eyewitness News, Gavin Newsom talked about where he stands on everything from the gas tax to the state's housing crunch.

Election Day is two weeks away, and virtually all the polls show Democrat Gavin Newsom way ahead of Republican John Cox in the race for California governor. In a one-on-one interview with Eyewitness News, Newsom talked about where he stands on everything from the gas tax to the state's housing crunch.

Newsom stopped at the St. Joseph Center Food Pantry in Venice to roll out plans for a new California corps, linking up volunteer programs for the underserved.

"You all saw a couple of weeks back, Monday headlines in California, 19 percent of Californians live below the poverty line, the highest poverty rates in the United States of America," Newsom told reporters.

With more than half the state's voters requesting mail-in ballots, every day is Election Day now until Nov. 6. Newsom said he's not coasting, despite his solid lead and a campaign war chest five times the size of his opponent.

2018 VOTER GUIDE: A look at California gubernatorial candidate Gavin Newsom

"I'm not constitutionally capable. I don't know if it's because I'm Irish, but I've always run as if I'm 10, 20 points behind," Newsom said in an interview with Eyewitness News.

He came out on top of a crowded field of primary candidates. He outpolled the leading Democrats, with Republican businessman Cox coming in second.

2018 VOTER GUIDE: A look at California gubernatorial candidate John Cox

The Los Angeles Times has endorsed Newsom in the runoff, citing his grasp of government details.

"Policy matters, and I have dozens of policy teams. I pride myself on the details as a former mayor, as a two-term lieutenant governor, and I think, look, the best politics is a better idea," he said.

Newsom has served two terms as lieutenant governor alongside Gov. Jerry Brown.

Three years ago, he celebrated the Supreme Court upholding same-sex marriage, ending legal challenges begun in 2004, when - as newly elected San Francisco mayor - Newsom allowed marriage licenses for gay couples.

A quick round of questions on campaign hot topics, Newsom opposes Prop 6. He discounts polls showing support for the gas tax repeal.

2018 VOTER GUIDE: A look at California's gubernatorial candidates

"I don't imagine the voters are going to want to roll back the clock and perpetuate the worst road conditions in America," he said. "The final analysis, I think, the voters of California are smarter than that."

As for Prop 10, expanding rent control, Newsom sees it trailing in the polls for its potential freeze on new construction.

2018 VOTER GUIDE: A look at all the California propositions

"Prop 10, actually, I think chills the production inside as it addresses the prevention side. I think there's a compromise if it doesn't pass," Newsom said.

And President Donald Trump's wall at the border against illegal immigration?

"The border is a monument to stupidity, to idiocy," Newsom said. "It's intended to divide Americans, it's a sixth-sensory solution to a 21st-Century problem.

After two years of campaigning, here's how Newsom sums up what he's learned.

"There's extraordinary things happening all across the state, and that enlivens me, that gives me tremendous sense of optimism that the best days are ahead of us in the state of California," he said.

Newsom can afford to be optimistic with an election he's not likely to lose in a left-leaning state.

Take a look at full coverage on the 2018 election here.