SF Gate | May 30, 2017
by John Wildermuth
Photo: Cheshire Isaacs
Jeff Bleich, a Bay Area attorney and former ambassador to Australia under President Obama, is joining the increasingly crowded field for state lieutenant governor.
While Bleich, a Democrat, officially opened his campaign Tuesday with an event in Oakland, he’s been preparing for the race for months. He’s opened a state campaign account for the 2018 race to replace Gavin Newsom, who is termed out and running for governor, and already has raised more than $50,000 through his political crowd-funding website.
“Californians have been asking honest, tough questions because changes in the economy have left many people behind or wondering if their kids will do better than they have,” Bleich said on his website. “My goal is simple — I’m running for lieutenant governor to help us solve the tough problems that are holding back hardworking Californians.”
Bleich was born in 1961 at an Army base in Germany. He grew up in Connecticut, received his B.A. from Amherst, a Masters in public policy from Harvard and graduated from UC Berkeley School of Law.
He was a clerk for Supreme Court Justice William Rehnquist from 1991-92, then moved to California to work as a civil litigator in Los Angeles and San Francisco.
A longtime friend of Obama, he was co-chair of his national finance committee in the 2008 campaign. He was ambassador to Australia from 2009 to 2013 before returning to the Bay Area to practice law.
Others running for lieutenant governor include state Sen. Ed Hernandez, D-West Covina (Los Angeles County), the early favorite; Democrat Eleni Kounalakis, former ambassador to Hungary; and Democrat Asif Mahmood, a Los Angeles physician.