Decision 2018: The Race for California Governor recap

Decision 2018

On Tuesday, May 8, more than half a million viewers tuned in from across the state to watch the top 5 candidates for governor debate their positions on issues affecting California – from homelessness and housing to transportation, immigration, and  early childhood education. If you missed it live, you can watch the full debate here:

Planning the debate was a 6-month effort, coordinated across multiple organizations and led by Silicon Valley Community Foundation and our partners at NBC Bay Area. The numbers are still trickling in from the event, but here’s what we know so far:

Debate by the Numbers:

  • 30 SVCF staff worked behind-the-scenes to build an event from scratch
  • 200 production staff worked to put the debate on the air
  • 600 guests gathered at the California Theater
  • 1,000 people attended watch parties at 20 locations around the state
  • 600,000 (and still counting) viewed or listened to the debate on TV and radio

As the numbers roll in and the journalists, pundits, and spinsters react to the candidates’ performances, here are my key takeaways:

  1. This was a pivotal moment for SVCF. Since our founding in 2007, SVCF has continuously pushed California’s state leaders to address a myriad of challenges facing our community – from fixing the affordable housing crisis to protecting immigrant families to supporting our youngest children. We realize, however, that many of these challenges are most affectively addressed by our state’s chief executive. Arguably, California’s Governor is the most powerful Governor in the nation, with the greatest ability to shape public policy. So, no matter who wins the election, the future Governor of California was standing on stage Tuesday night with SVCF’s logo behind them.
  2. This was a big deal for little kids. For the first time ever, candidates for elected office talked about young children on statewide, live TV. SVCF’s Choose Children 2018 campaign has been working behind-the-scenes with each candidate to ensure they are all champions for young children – both during the campaign and afterward. Because of this work, the candidates discussed their positions on expanding access to early childhood education. To learn more about this exchange between the candidates, take a look at this story in EdSource. And to learn more about Choose Children 2018, listen to our podcast, follow us on Twitter (@choose_children), and visit our website (
  3. There’s still more work to do. Debates don’t solve problems. But public fora, like this debate, are a part of a long term, tireless strategy to build a lasting relationship with the next Governor, to ensure that person—whomever it may be—boldly addresses the many challenges facing our community. May 8th was only the beginning, and we are committed to the long game – not for our institutional benefit, but because we are determined to make our community a better place to live, work, and play.

If you watched or listened to the debate, fill out this post-debate survey hosted by KQED.

Decision 2018


Decision 2018