When Calbuzz came across this photo of San Francisco Mayor Gavin speaking Sunday at the LA Gay Pride festival, with LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa standing by wearing a silly smile, we swiftly kicked into full Kremlinology Mode — determined to divine the intrigue and machinations that led a beaming Prince Gavin to the podium of a political event in the middle of Tony V’s turf.
After all, the Boy Prince is a candidate for governor and, despite mounting evidence to the contrary, Antonio Alcalde, is said by associates to still be considering a run for the big office. So what’s the scoop behind this unusual joint appearance, we mused. Who pushed whom forward, aside, around the bend? Who squeezed, squished and squashed his way into the shot? How did Mr. San Francisco come to hold that microphone on a warm West Hollywood afternoon? Inquiring Machiavellians wanted to know.
Calbuzz set out to do what in the trade is known as “actual reporting,” and rang up Rodney Scott, president of Christopher Street West, who organized the Gay Pride weekend, and urged him to dish, dish. Alas, he not only had no dirt, he also insisted that a) Gavin had been invited a year ago; b) no one tried to muscle anyone; c) the three mayors (West Hollywood’s Abbe Land was there too, as hometown host) cooperated brilliantly and; d) the whole deal was pure kumbaya.
“They put their competitive thing aside and showed up for the LGBT community,” Scott said. “They were amazing.”
OK, so no scoop, but still the joint appearance left us wondering who benefitted most from the event? Does Newsom, the guy who unilaterally legalized gay marriage in his city even before it was legal and then illegal again, have the gay vote locked up? Or does the Hometown Hizzoner get dibs because of his early adaptor support of the movement?
That’s easy: Score one for Gavin for copping a media freebie in the LA market where he made nice before some 400,000 attendees of the Gay Pride weekend. Sure, Tony V looks gracious –- and gays know he’s an ally — but compared to Gavin, on this issue, he’s an echo, not a choice.
As for the broader question of where the gay vote goes in the Democratic primary, there are two schools of thought:
Camp A says there is no monolithic gay vote. Older gays and lesbians may well gravitate toward Attorney General Jerry Brown, who also has a long history of supporting gay and lesbian causes, and is, like Villaraigosa, a longtime supporter of gay marriage (not to mention having the AG’s office oppose Prop 8 in court). Everyone’s going to have to compete for gay votes in the Democratic primary.
Camp B agrees with all of the arguments from Camp A, but adds this: Newsom still gets two-thirds of the gay vote just because he’s an international rock star on this issue.
Calbuzz thinks the jury’s out. Gay Democratic voters tend to include a disproportionate share of upper-income, college-educated citizens, many of who are strategic voters. In other words, beyond following political passions in June, they make electability decisions about which candidate to support against a Republican in November.
If Newsom’s primary campaign is in good shape and he looks strong against a Republican, he’ll grab a huge portion of gay voters. But if his bid isn’t all that solid or if he looks weak against a Republican (some obsessively mull his Mr. Know-It-All “whether they like it or not” outburst — we are not among them), then gay voters will be happy to give other Democrats a fair hearing.
In the meantime, Calbuzz, as all who know us understand, takes a backseat to no one in our fervent desire for civility, comity and courtesy in politics; so we’re just pleased as punch to see Tony and Gavey playing so nicely. Harrumph.
– By Jerry Roberts and Phil Trounstine