Newsom's latest reality tv 'celebrity' challenger: Fiancé of ex-'Housewives' star

AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu, File

The fiance of a former ‘Real Housewives of Orange County” star announced his intention to run for governor in California. Because, of course, he did. Steve Chavez Lodge, fiance of RHOC original cast member Vicki Gunvalson, made the announcement on Instagram.


Lodge has 87.4K followers on Instagram. He isn’t in the celebrity range of Caitlyn Jenner, who has 11.2M followers but Lodge has a good number of followers. You can see his announcement here:

I am officially announcing that I am running for GOVERNOR of California
I was born and raised in California and spent my adult life here, it was a time when people still called California the Golden State.
I raised my children in California, and now I am watching my grandchildren grow up here.
However, I can no longer stand by and watch my beautiful state being destroyed by bad decisions made by Sacramento career politicians.
Its time for the people of California to regain control of their government,
not only at the state level, but in the counties, cities, and school boards.
Over the past decade we have seen the consequences of horrible state policies and even worse legislation.
We now have the highest cost of living in the continental US and its still going up with no end in sight.
Our public safety is being eroded and crime is increasing in every category. Our homeless population is out of control directly caused by decisions in Sacramento.
I have the solution to the homeless issue and am excited to share it with you in the coming days. I will also be discussing California’s other important issues and demonstrate common sense solutions.
Enough is enough California.
Help me “Make California, California Again”. I will lead this movement with your help to see California once again as the Golden State she once was.


His Instagram account features photos of a political nature. He posted one photo with someone identified as a former spokesperson and senior adviser to the recall Newsom campaign. And, Lodge criticizes the California Legislature for passing a bill to change the state elections code to benefit Gavin in his recall campaign. Assembly Bill 152 allows state officials to bypass a step in certifying the recall election. So, he was laying the groundwork in social media for this race.

Lodge describes himself as a conservative. He trashes Biden for the border crisis and says the policies of the previous administration worked. He says he has a “strategy on how to save California” and he’ll share that soon.

Lodge’s resume isn’t political in nature. He is an Army veteran, retired Homicide Detective, and small business owner, according to his bio. His career as a police detective was mentioned occasionally when he appeared on the RHOC show. He’s celebrity-adjacent, you could say. He infrequently appeared on the show and only in the last 3 or so years of Gunvalson’s participation in the show. She was let go a couple of years ago, I think, mostly because she aged out. Viewers were bored with her. She still has 1.1M followers on Instagram and she posted Lodge’s announcement on her account. It’s common for cast members of all of the Housewives franchises to use their participation in the shows to promote other career opportunities. Who knew one of the men would go into conservative politics? Gunvalson purchased a condo in Puerto Vallarta last year and allegedly plans to retire there, so that may be something Lodge has to explain.


Let’s face it, he has no chance of being a serious contender to replace Newsom. Celebrity candidates that actually win political races are few and far between. Trump won thanks to decades of name recognition and the ability to present populist ideas. Reagan won thanks to his communications skills and years in the entertainment business and union background. Sonny Bono used his celebrity to become Mayor of Palm Springs, California, and then represented his district in Congress. Arnold Schwarzenegger was elected Governor of California. And, we can’t forget Clint Eastwood. He was Mayor of Carmel-by-the-Sea, California for two years. California is open to electing celebrities but if they want one as governor to replace Newsom, it’s more likely they’ll go with Caitlyn Jenner.

Newsom sued the state’s top election official on Monday. He is trying to get his party affiliation on the recall ballot.

The Democratic governor filed a lawsuit against his hand-picked Secretary of State Shirley Weber on Monday, claiming there was a mistake made while creating the paperwork for the recall ballot in 2020 that removed Newsom’s party affiliation.

Weber has the authority to identify Newsom as a Democrat since a date has not been set for the election and she did not certify the recall, the lawsuit alleged.

“Petitioner is beneficially interested in ensuring that his party preference election appears on the recall ballot as provided in Elections Code section 11320 to ensure that voters are able to make a more informed choice when deciding how to vote in the upcoming recall election,” the filing reads.


The bill referenced by Lodge in an Instagram post is one passed Monday that moves the recall date up, likely to benefit Newsom. It allows the recall to take place at least 30 days earlier than what existed under state law. The election will likely be in September. Weber’s office said on June 23 that the petition to recall Newsom exceeded 1.7 million signatures. Her office confirmed in April that there were enough signatures to trigger a recall. Petitioners were given 30 days to remove their name if they chose to do so.

Others who are running to replace Newsom include former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, former Rep. Doug Ose, and Mary Carey, a retired porn actress. There’s a little something for everyone in this race. California drives our celebrity worshipping culture. Who knows what will happen, assuming Californians are smart enough to get rid of Newsom while they have the opportunity to do so. We shouldn’t hold our breath on that, though.

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David Strom 10:00 AM | April 17, 2024