Tech-savvy Gavin Newsom goes off-the-grid for campaign watch party

In 2004, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, then mayor of San Francisco, proposed a citywide Wi-Fi network that would provide reliable wireless internet service to the world’s foremost capital of tech. The plan was eventually shelved.

Fourteen years later, Newsom, now running for governor, will be returning to downtown San Francisco to watch the primary election results come in. Once again, no Wi-Fi.

“Please plan ahead—wifi will not be provided and cell phone service may be limited given the number of people at the venue,” said Newsom campaign spokesman Nathan Click in an invitation email.

Click later clarified that the campaign was simply being “extra cautious” in issuing its warning.

At Antonio Villaraigosa’s downtown L.A. venue, campaign staff said Tuesday morning that there would be WiFi for the evening event, but it is available only for the campaign. Villaraigosa, a Democrat, is also running for governor.

Newsom, a Democrat and former mayor of San Francisco, is the frontrunner in the California governor’s race.  He is also the co-author of Citizenville: How to Take the Town Square Digital and Reinvent Government—a book about how government should make smarter use of technology.

At last count, his campaign has nearly $10 million on hand.

The election night watch party will be held at Verso, a nightclub owned by the PlumpJack Hospitality Group, a company that Newsom founded. The venue is described on its website as a “stylish loft-like space in the up-and-coming tech corridor of San Francisco’s Mid-Market District.” The Twitter headquarters is two blocks away.

Julie Cart contributed to this story.

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