Combined Wire Reports
SACRAMENTO, March 19 – A defiant and unapologetic Governor Juanita Hernandez today confessed to purchasing male escorts and engaging in an extramarital affair, saying the sexual liaisons provided her with “an emotional and physical high that has long since left” her marriage.
Gov. Hernandez, 50, married with three children, was the first woman elected governor of California and the first Latino to hold the job. In a hastily called news conference today, she confirmed rumors linking her romantically to Craig Theborg, 55, a Silicon Valley venture capitalist, as well as using male escorts.
“I want to put a stop to all these rumors right now,” the governor said. “Craig Theborg and I have been seeing one another for the last five years. Yes, it has been a romantic relationship. I have been with male escorts but not for what you think.
“I did it because my marriage is on the rocks,” the governor said. “These interludes provided me, especially the ones with Craig, with an emotional and physical high that has long since left my marriage.”
The rumors about the governor, the male escorts and Mr. Theborg, a longtime financial contributor to her campaigns, surfaced two days ago, when photographs of the governor, Mr. Theborg and male escorts were posted on a number of Web sites, including Glam.com and PageSix.com, a Web site owned by a tabloid newspaper, the New York Post.
The pictures showed the governor embracing and kissing Mr. Theborg, as well as entering a Sausalito motel room with him. Other pictures showed the governor presumably with male escorts in restaurants around the San Francisco metropolitan area.
In spite of a likely legal investigation into the governor’s use of the escorts, she plans to remain in her job and says she will run for re-election. The governor refused to provide any details of her involvement with the male escorts.
“I’m not stepping down,” the governor said. “I will be the governor of California until my time in office is up. I may have broken God’s law but I didn’t violate any State and Federal laws.
“And, yes, I will run for re-election.”
The governor would not discuss her marriage to Glen Droit, 53, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, Boalt School of Law. She would not discuss her future plans with either her husband or Mr. Theborg.
The governor, a Democrat and a former state attorney general, campaigned two years ago on a platform to cut the state’s crime rate as well as to put a halt to illegal immigration. She defeated San Diego businessman John Walker, a Republican, in her run for the governor’s office.
“I was sent to Sacramento to do a job, and I plan to do it,” she said. “My marriage, my relationship with my children, and my relationship with Craig are my business and no one else’s.”
Asked if she was sorry for her actions, the governor said, “If I need to apologize to anyone, I’ll do so in private – not to you. The most important thing is the children. I very much love my children and don’t want to hurt them.”
Gov. Hernandez, Mr. Droit, and their three children, two teenage sons and a daughter, live in Berkeley; the governor has been living by herself in the governor’s mansion in Sacramento, returning to the family’s home on weekends.
Mr. Droit could not be reached for comment. University officials said he conducted his classes yesterday.
“Our heart goes out to Glen and his family,” said Robert Tomlinson, dean of the Law School.
Mr. Theborg, a venture capitalist in Palo Alto, was an early investor in Google. According to his firm’s Web site, Theborg and Associates invests in technology companies. Phone calls to his office were not returned.
Theborg, a longtime donor to the Democratic Party, has chaired the finance committee for Hernandez’s campaigns for attorney general and her gubernatorial campaign. According to OpenSecrets.org, he’s donated $20,000.00 to the Democratic Party and another $12,000.00 to Hernandez’s three state-wide campaigns.
Gov. Hernandez said she met Theborg at a Democratic Party fundraiser in Los Angeles while she served in the State Assembly.
The state attorney general’s office would not return phone calls, inquiring whether they would investigate the governor’s use of male escorts or any possible discrepancy between the governor’s actions and the donations she’s received from Theborg. The U.S. Attorney’s office in San Francisco would also not comment about their possible actions.
Meantime, political support for the governor appeared to be holding up.
“The way she handled herself, standing up there all alone in front of all those cameras, this was so very brave of the governor,” said National Organization of Woman chairwoman Patty Stompt. “We’ll support her in every possible way.”
“Women have sexual and emotional needs, too,” said 85-year-old Gloria Steinem, a
longtime leader in the women’s rights movement, from her offices in New York. “For too long we’ve only associated men with sexual needs. That’s just not true. I say to Governor Hernandez, ‘You go girl.’”
“Anyone who’s ever been married understands her feelings,” said California Assemblyman Joe Hugo, D-Fresno. “I’m not saying she’s right in what she did but, you know, there are a lot of people who understand.
“I’ll continue to support her – politically and personally.”
Republicans in Sacramento refused to comment on the governor’s announcement.
The governor’s plans to remain in office put a damper on the political career of her lieutenant governor, Henry Lee. Lee, 48, a former mayor of San Francisco, is expected to remain in office, helping the governor with her legislative plans.
“He will not resign over this,” said a member of Lee’s staff who wished to remain anonymous.
Ms. Hernandez, the daughter of farm workers, grew up in Fresno and graduated from California State University in Fresno in 1992 before heading to the University of California, Berkeley, Boalt School of Law, where she met her husband. They were married shortly after she graduated.
She moved to Los Angeles in 1995 to work for a law firm before heading into public life. She was elected to the State Assembly in 2004. She became the state attorney general 2006 and was re-elected in 2010. She worked for a law firm in San Francisco before being elected governor in 2018.
Asked about her use of male escorts, the governor said, “The world’s oldest profession serves the world’s oldest need.”