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Candidates in the crowded field for California governor have, on a number of occasions, stretched the truth ahead of the June 5 primary. Other times, they’ve made flat-out falsehoods.
Through our Tracking The Truth project, PolitiFact California has published more than 40 fact checks and articles investigating the accuracy of claims by those seeking the state’s highest office.
Our work has probed statements by all major candidates in the race. They include two Republicans: San Diego businessman John Cox and Orange County Assemblyman Travis Allen. The four top Democrats in the campaign are Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, the race’s frontrunner, former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, State Treasurer John Chiang, and former State Superintendent of Public Instruction Delaine Eastin.
Top, from left to right: Gubernatorial candidates Travis Allen, Gavin Newsom and Delaine Eastin. Bottom: Candidates Antonio Villaraigosa, John Chiang and John Cox. Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio / Wikimedia Commons
We have focused largely on the claims they’ve made about their past accomplishments. But we’ve also scrutinized the attacks they’ve made against their opponents in the TV ads that have blanketed California’s airwaves.
Examples of our fact checks
Some significant pieces include our False rating on Newsom’s allegation in a TV ad that he was "first to take on the National Rifle Association and win." It ignored major gun control measures passed by California politicians from U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein to former Los Angeles mayors Tom Bradley and Antonio Villaraigosa, in the face of NRA opposition.
We also investigated Cox’s attacks on Allen in a recent TV ad. We rated False his charge that Allen is a "career politician," while he earned a Mostly True for his statement Allen "gave campaign donations to Jerry Brown, Gavin Newsom and Barbara Boxer." We also rated Half True Cox’s claim Allen refused to make a key immigration vote.
Additionally, we examined a potentially misleading campaign mailer and TV ad that shows former President Barack Obama embracing Villaraigosa. We checked with Obama’s spokeswoman and she told us he hasn’t endorsed anyone in the race for governor. The ad was paid for by a charter schools group supporting the former LA mayor.
Send us your suggestion for a fact check!
We’ll be listening and watching for claims made on Election Day, and all the way through the November general election. If you hear something you think warrants a fact check, send us your idea.
See individual fact checks for sources