NURSES FOR NEWSOM, 2018
In 2018, the California Nurses Association asked Garry South to design and implement an independent expenditure campaign to support the gubernatorial candidacy of then-Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom. In the top-two primary that June, Newsom was facing two very credible Democratic opponents: state Controller John Chiang, the first Asian American to hold that statewide office, and who had been elected and re-elected to the post; and former two-term Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Polling determined that Villaraigoso was the strongest Democratic candidate against Newsom, having a base in Los Angeles and as a historical figure as the first Latino mayor of the state’s largest city. South developed a campaign strategy that sought to influence female Hispanic voters over 35 residing in Los Angeles County, and the counties of San Bernardino and Riverside, the latter two being areas where Villaraigosa was well known because they are part of the Los Angeles media market. He wrote commercials featuring Latina nurses, with the slogan “Nurses trust Newson,” based on research showing that nurses and the nursing profession had high credibility with the female Hispanic demographic. The spots were produced by Pres. Obama’s media firm in both of his presidential campaigns. They aired on both English and Spanish radio in the LA market, as well as on Facebook and Pandora. In the primary, Newsom finished in the top spot out of 32 candidates with more than one-third of the vote, even beating Villaraigosa in his home county of Los Angeles by a 33-22% margin, and by more 150,000 votes — and despite Villaraigosa’s endorsement by his hometown Los Angeles Times. And Villaraigosa finished third overall, out of the running for one of the top two spots. The rest is history, as Newsom went on to demolish his Republican opponent in the general ejection, scoring the biggest victory percentage-wise of any California governor since 1950.