For politicians in the smaller, more self-contained states, being the governor can be a pretty good gig, especially if they’re talented problem solvers. Landing a governorship can be an ideal stepping stone for those who seek higher office, which is part of why the 50 jobs are so desirable.
For Gavin Newsom, though, it’s complicated. Newsom is the governor of California, which is actually three or four states rolled into one, and during the 3+ years since he was elected he’s had to put out an ongoing series of fires, both literally and figuratively.
In his role as the governor, he is paid $210,000 per year. As of 2022, Gavin Newsom has an estimated net worth of $20 million.
Newsom was once a rising star in the Democratic party, although that start was tarnished when he had to win a run-off election last year to stay in office.
Newsom was born in 1967 in San Francisco, and it’s safe to say he had politics in his blood from day one. His father was a state appeals judge and an attorney for Getty Oil, so the connections for a political career were basically instantly available.
Initially, though, it didn’t look like Newsom would be able to capitalize on them. He struggled in school due to severe dyslexia, but went on to earn a degree in political science from Santa Clara University.
The Business of Politics
Things began to change for Newsom after he graduated, though. In 1991 he gathered a group of investors and started PlumpJack Winery (the name was based on an opera that Newsom and an investor had written together), which quickly grew to have 700 employees.
Newsom and his investors added multiple related businesses over the next decade, including restaurants, hotels and retail clothing stores. With his financial future assured, Newsom turned to politics, serving as an aide for Willie Brown during Brown’s 1995 mayoral campaign in San Francisco, which was a success.
Newsom went on to hold several political positions in the city, and in 2003 he became the youngest mayor in the history of San Francisco at the age of 36.
He quickly earned a reputation as a liberal politician who could get things done, and in 2009 he moved up to become lieutenant governor. It took another decade for him to get elected governor, but he finally made the jump and was sworn in in 2019.
Newsom’s accomplishments as a liberal may have made him popular in his home party, but he’s been plagued by recall efforts that have been led by California’s various conservative factions, and some of his business practices have come under scrutiny as well.
He finally had to win a runoff last year, and while his victory margin may have been impressive, the runoff made many wonder how he would fare on the national stage if he did decide to try another upward-mobile move.
Personal Life and Net Worth
It took Newsom a while to figure out his personal life, but he’s definitely had success engineering power marriages for himself.
His first wife was Kimberly Guilfoyle, the former San Francisco prosecutor and conservative commentator who’s moved on up to become the girlfriend of Donald Trump, Jr., but Newsom and Guilfoyle divorced back in 2006.
The second time proved to be the charm for Newsom when he married film director Jennifer Siebel in 2008. Her father is Thomas Siebel, who just happens to be a multi-billionaire software magnate.
The couple has four children, and Newsom is worth $20 million, so he probably won’t have to hit up his rich father-in-law for a loan any time soon.