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To Beat Gavin Newsom in the Governor’s Race, John Chiang Will Have to Make Wonkiness Sexy

California’s chief banker is a friendly liberal wrapped in a fiscal suit of armor.

This Golden State is a podcast from veteran broadcast journalist Randy Shandobil. Click above to play.

As a candidate for governor in 2018, State Treasurer John Chiang faces a field of candidates both more charismatic and more well known, from Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom to former L.A. mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. In an interview with This Golden State podcast host Randy Shandobil, Chiang makes an unapologetic case for his total wonkitude. After all, “fiscal issues turn into social issues,” he says. “If you care about housing, if you care about education, if you care about opportunities here in California and the United States, we have to grow the economy, we have to create opportunities, and we have to be fiscally strong.”

Chiang has a history of standing up to his superiors on principle, but Shandobil’s the one to bring up those episodes, not Chiang. For instance: As state controller in 2010, Chiang defied an attempt by Governor Schwarzenegger to cut 200,000 state employees’ pay to minimum wage until a budget was passed. And in 2011, after Chiang docked state legislators’ pay when they failed to pass a balanced budget, a thankful commenter took to his Facebook page, writing, “JOHN CHIANG FOR GOVERNOR!” For at least some people, then, even fiscal decisions can get voters excited.


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