It was all political systems go for San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom at this weekend’s state Democratic convention as he hobnobbed with presidential hopefuls and party activists, and held a hasty news conference about plans for coping with disruption caused by a freeway tanker crash Sunday morning in Oakland.
The crowds at the convention Sunday were friendly, the mayor was relaxed and plenty of people wanted to shake his hand and say nice things about him. It was a far cry from just three months ago, when an embarrassing — and highly public — sex and drinking scandal was threatening Newsom’s political future.
There are still no guarantees his affair with the wife of his campaign manager and his announcement that he was seeking treatment for a growing drinking problem won’t torpedo any plans the 39-year-old mayor may have for higher office. But those dark clouds didn’t follow him into the San Diego Convention Center.
Newsom’s strong and controversial stand for same-sex marriage and his pledge last week to keep San Francisco as a “sanctuary city” for illegal immigrants play well with the progressive activists who made up a hefty chunk of the 2,264 delegates registered at the convention.
“Newsom’s very popular here” at the convention, said Ace Smith, a Democratic consultant with a long history in San Francisco. “The things he’s done mean something to these delegates.”