Election 2020

California Lt. Gov.: Russia Probe 'Doesn't Do Anything for Democrats'

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom greets spectators at the Pride parade in San Francisco on June 25, 2017. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

California’s lieutenant governor warned that Democrats relying on the Russia investigation in 2018 elections is “a loser.”

Gavin Newsom, the former mayor of San Francisco who is running to replace term-limited Gov. Jerry Brown in 2018, told MSNBC that the story “doesn’t do anything for Democrats.”

“I don’t know what more evidence you need,” the lieutenant governor said. “I mean, the end of the day — the end of the day, even if you game this thing out, you get rid of Trump, you’re left with a guy who’s out there talking about conversion therapy. It doesn’t do anything for the Democratic Party and our agenda.”

“So unless we deal with the issues of economic anxiety, cultural issues in a substantive way, and we get in the how business and we actually demonstrate with some acuity and strength a clear conviction in terms of the fate and future of this country, then we’re never going to take back these state houses,” he added

Newsom’s challengers for the Democratic nomination include former L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and state Treasurer John Chiang.

Newsom zeroed in on the Inland Empire east of Los Angeles, the second-fastest growing region in California that’s “about logistics, warehousing, transportation.”

“But you’re talking about economy, California, that’s outpacing the rest of the nation — 61 consecutive months, 2.5 million jobs in the last seven years, 2.9 percent GDP growth, twice the national average,” he said. “If you want to know how to take back control of state houses across the country, go west. Go to California, study Jerry Brown.”

Some of the biggest challenges for the world’s sixth-largest economy, he said, are child poverty and affordable living.

“The disparity is a major issue,” Newsom said. “It’s remarkable, right, this coastal economy and income economy, this bifurcated hybrid economy.”

“Remember, we started seven years ago with a $27 billion budget deficit. People were talking about splitting the state up into six, and here we are now debating the size of the surplus. And tomorrow we’ll be debating the extension of a cap-and-trade program. We’re leading not just the nation but the world now in low-carbon green growth. California is on the move. And I think, again, the power of emulation, success does leave clues. People should study California’s model.”

Democrats, Newsom added, also “need to talk about personal responsibility in every shape, way, and form.”

“We don’t talk about parenting, we don’t talk about those things, and so, you know, we get pigeonholed in this nanny-state frame,” he said. “And that’s another part of the problem we have getting back into a majority.”