Mark Sanford, whose grip on South Carolina’s gubernatorial office is now shaky, suffers from knowing what’s right but not being able to get away from his guilt. That’s a predicament candidates in California have already overcome. One such guilt-free role model lives in San Francisco. Having survived his own sex scandal, Mayor Gavin Newsom is emerging as the insider’s choice to replace Arnold Schwarzenegger as governor in 2010. Newsom’s got good looks, personal charisma and isn’t afraid to challenge the status quo—he appointed women to most of the city’s senior executive positions and garnered national attention by decreeing marriage licenses be issued to same sex couples. The founder of a wine shop that expanded into a successful series of business and a huge fan of social media, Newsom is the youngest mayor to serve San Francisco in 100 years. Tall, handsome and rich, Newsom has already passed through his own sex scandals. Newsom survived in office despite his admission of sleeping with his secretary, wife of his campaign manager and good friend, Alex Tourk. Tourk resigned from the mayor’s staff, Newsom divorced his own wife, Fox News personality Kimberly Guilfoyle, and was then reelected to a second term. Now remarried to an actress, Jennifer Seibel, infamous for shooting a sex scene with multiple partners, Newsom is wholesome again and looking forward to becoming a first-time father. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who had his own dalliances with two different lovely Latina television personalities, last week dropped from the Democratic primary—but not over any such scandal. Attorney General Jerry Brown, better known by the public than Mayor Newsom, has yet to declare his firm intent to run. The closest Brown ever came to a sex scandal was dating Linda Ronstadt during his Governor Moonbeam days—pretty tame stuff by today’s standards. California’s candidates, undaunted by upheavals in their personal lives, learn to talk less, govern more, and move forward in creating political options for themselves. In contrast, Mark Sanford, trapped by his own sense of morality, comes to this disastrous point in his life knowing that there are no options. Dr. Dora Kingsley is founder of Trenton West, a national policy and opposition research firm based in California and Washington, D.C. As an adjunct professor with the University of Southern California’s School of Policy, Planning and Development, Dr. Kingsley has taught graduate coursework for fifteen years and is a lifetime fellow of the congressionally chartered National Academy of Public Administration. To contact Dr. Kingsley, click here.