Newsom returns contribution from Savage’s son

Last week, you read it here first that Rockstar energy drink founder and CEO Russell Weiner – son of Michael Weiner, aka Bay Area-based, nationally broadcast conservative talk radio talk host Michael Savage – had made a $25,000 contribution to San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom’s 2010 gubernatorial campaign. Weiner told me he and Newsom are longtime friends.

But Newsom’s campaign today said it’s returning Weiner’s money.

“The Newsom for California campaign is returning the contribution of Russell G. Weiner,” campaign director Eric Jaye said in an e-mailed statement. “We believe that the confusion caused by the conflicts between the views expressed by Mr. Weiner in his campaign for State Assembly and the views and values of Mayor Newsom are best adressed this way.”

Russ Weiner ran for the state Assembly in 1998 as a Republican, touting the fact that he with his dad had founded the conservative Paul Revere Society (later stripped of its nonprofit status, and now redirecting Web browsers directly to Savage’s site.)

And Savage just last October was saying Newsom is “in love again with the gay mafia” and “a whack-job as a mayor – ‘Any-twosome’ Newsom.”

Weiner told me a few minutes ago there are no hard feelings.

“I still wish Gavin the best – always have, always will,” he said. “I’m just going to give this money to charity instead, I’m going to give it to Project Open Hand in San Francisco. … Let’s turn a misunderstanding into a positive.”

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • RR

    Newsom can’t run SF, how the hell can he run the whole state?

  • As usual, I’m proud of the Mayor. He had to return this contribution, and did. On the other side, thank you Michael, for the donation to Project Open Hand–a fitting use for these dollars.

  • JK

    If you can go back to 1998 for one side of this story, then you should go back to 2006 for the other side.

    Gavin Newsom, the mayor who cheated with his best friend’s wife while in office in 2006, who entered an alcoholism program while in office in 2007, and who outlawed bottled water for restaurants in 2008 but is routinely seen driving around town with cases of it, has made no mention if he has eyes on Russ Weiner’s wife or bottled water.

    The City and County of San Francisco has over 40,000 public employees for a population of under 800,000 people. That’s 5% of the population, but 1 in 6 households works for the city or county government.

  • John W

    Under the circumstances, it seems that both Newsom and Weiner handled this matter well. Can Newsom run the state if he can’t run the City of SF? Hard to say which is more impossible! I think we need a dictatorship to fix CA! It’s an interesting observation about 1 in 6 households working for the City and County of SF. I never have been able to figure out why SF’s per capita budget is way bigger than combined local/county per capita spending elsewhere. I suppose the tourist trade and being the core city for the region are factors. Nobody else has anything comparable to Muni. Is the airport part of the city/county budget and employee headcount?