In San Francisco circles, there were long-time rumors that SF Mayor Gavin Newsom is gay. Even when he married the pretty Kimberly Guilfoyle, there was always the suspicion she was more beard than wife. I think we can put all those rumors to rest now:
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom’s re-election campaign manager resigned Wednesday after confronting the mayor about an affair Newsom had with his wife while she worked in the mayor’s office, City Hall sources said.
Alex Tourk, 39, who served as Newsom’s deputy chief of staff before becoming his campaign manager in September, confronted the mayor after his wife, Ruby Rippey-Tourk, told him of the affair as part of a rehabilitation program she had been undergoing for substance abuse, said the sources, who had direct knowledge of Wednesday’s meeting.
Rippey-Tourk, 34, was the mayor’s appointments secretary from the start of his administration in 2004 until last spring. She told her husband that the affair with Newsom was short-lived and happened about a year and a half ago, while the mayor was undergoing a divorce from his then-wife, Fox News host Kimberly Guilfoyle, said the sources, who spoke on condition they not be identified.
Alex Tourk “confronted the mayor on the issue this afternoon, expressed his feeling about the situation in an honest and pointed way, and resigned,” said one source close to Tourk and his wife.
Tourk’s resignation was announced in a statement that Newsom’s campaign released Wednesday. The statement quoted Tourk as saying only that he was resigning for personal reasons.
The statement quoted Newsom, 39, as saying he had accepted the resignation with great sadness.
Asked at City Hall Wednesday evening about Tourk’s resignation and the affair, Newsom said, “I’m not making any public comment. I’m just not.”
Accepting as fact that the Mayor is entirely heterosexual, I can’t say I’m surprised. He is rich, handsome and (within his sphere) powerful. That’s a recipe for flings. As I write this, I’m not thinking of Bill Clinton, but of Henry Cisneros, the handsome, charismatic San Antonio mayor, who was known to be a womanizer. Long ago, the media really, really wanted to annoint him as a possible White House contender, only to see that dream die when it became apparent that financial corruption, rather than philandering, was his real political liability.
Having said all that, I like Newsom. I think he’s been the best mayor San Francisco has had in a long time, and I’m unsurprised by his constant 70% approval rating. While this “sex scandal” may not be the best thing for his reputation, I’ll take it over political ineptitude and financial corruption any time — and I’m willing to bet the same holds true for all, or almost all, San Francisco voters.
UPDATE: Thomas Lifson’s take on the whole thing exposes a much seamier side to Newsom’s existence than I knew about. It doesn’t reflect well on the man. DQ also suggested that this whole story could be a plant to dispel those rumors about Newsom’s sexuality. (Indeed, to the extent Thomas Lifson notes that Newsom has consistently provided way too much information about his manly-man sex life with his ex-wife, DQ may well have a point.)
I think, though, that SF is such a sexually obsessed City that this story will either lead to voter ho-hums, or perhaps increase his approval rating. Remember, families care about this kind of stuff because they feel that they have a responsibility to their children. San Francisco, which is fairly child-free, has a large single population that is probably thinking “whatever.”
UPDATE II: Welcome SF Chron readers. If you’d like to see my further (and last) thoughts on the subject, go here. If you’re a member of that rare breed, a Bay Area conservative, you may want to check out the rest of this blog or look at the links in my Blogroll.
Filed under: San Francisco