Who Can Hollywood Democrats Get Behind Now?
The industry's political heavyweights are looking for their next national candidate as the California governor's race shapes up to divide the town.
Industry leaders who went all in for Hillary Clinton, from execs (Jeffrey Katzenberg, Bob Iger) to creators (J.J. Abrams, Shonda Rhimes), may be reeling from defeat, but they also are looking for new standard bearers with national potential, including California's first African-American U.S. senator.
"Kamala Harris is going to hit the ground running," says Gotham Group founder Ellen Goldsmith-Vein, who served on Clinton's national finance committee alongside her husband, former entertainment attorney and California delegate Jon Vein. "[New Jersey Sen.] Cory Booker is going to be an important part of the future of the party. [U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development] Julian Castro, who would have likely held a major role in Hillary's administration," is one to watch, she adds, as well as "Eric Garcetti, who is leading one of the biggest economies in the world here in L.A."
Garcetti, up for re-election as mayor in 2017, also could join the governor's race, which is shaping up to be a Hollywood-heavy battle with his predecessor Antonio Villaraigosa — who schmoozed at parties with the likes of Paris Hilton and hosted THR's 2012 Oscar Nominees' Night — vying against Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, the former San Francisco mayor whose wife, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, is an actress and producer. Onetime hedge funder Tom Steyer, who runs advocacy group NextGen Climate, also may run.
"If this comes down to Newsom versus Villaraigosa, Newsom's proximity to Silicon Valley and progressive stands on climate change, health care and marijuana legalization — and his early leadership on gay marriage — place him holding court at any studio or agency in town," says Marc Adelman, an L.A.-based media consultant and former Democratic National Committee official. "But the creative community knows and likes Villaraigosa, and it's not lost on anyone that he's a politico who can tweet in both English and Spanish. Where does that leave us? A race with lots of money that could divide firms and studios, not unlike the Obama versus Hillary campaign of 2008."
This story first appeared in the Dec. 9 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.