California gubernatorial candidate Gavin Newsom pushed back forcefully on Friday against a suggestion that his camp had anything to do with the surprise candidacy of Democrat Amanda Renteria for governor. An advisor to Antonio Villaraigosa’s campaign speculated that Newsom’s team wants Renteria in the governor’s race in an effort to split the Latino vote.
“It’s absurd. And sad at the same time,” Newsom told reporters after receiving U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris’ endorsement at USC. “To somehow suggest we’re part of it — I read that with bemusement. It is factually unequivocally, absolutely untrue.”
Newsom, currently California’s lieutenant governor, was responding to Mike Madrid, a Villaraigosa advisor, telling KQED that “something just doesn’t smell right” with the hasty, last-minute rollout of Renteria’s campaign. Madrid said he believes “the dots are there” to connect Renteria, a former Hillary Clinton aide who also worked for California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra, with Newsom’s campaign.