Although possibly best known as the mayor who married same-sex couples years before courts declared them legal, Newsom earned a reputation at City Hall as a business-friendly moderate — albeit in a city famously known for its liberal politics.

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As lieutenant governor, however, and with a run for governor long on his mind, Newsom led statewide ballot measures that tightened gun control and legalized recreational marijuana.

And during the gubernatorial primary campaign, he declared himself a strong supporter of single-payer health care — though he later said he is open to universal coverage that does not include single-payer.

His critics accuse him of political convenience. But Newsom points to his longtime support for stopping gun violence, and the universal health care bill he signed as mayor, as evidence that his views have remained consistent.

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“Assess the facts,” he said. “I haven’t changed at all.”

Well, not quite. He acknowledges changing his view of California’s ambitious but expensive high-speed rail project. He supported the original 2008 statewide ballot measure, then criticized the project when its cost ballooned to nearly $100 billion, and more recently climbed back aboard after Gov. Jerry Brown appointed new management.

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“I'm frankly more disturbed by people whose positions didn't change on high-speed rail — because the project changed,” Newsom said. “When the facts change, I think people's minds should change. I think there's nothing more stubborn than ideologues.”

Now, as he nears election to an office he’s sought for years, Newsom is running on a platform that is unabashedly progressive — yet unorthodox, he insists.

“I'm not a redistribution Democrat, but I am a predistribution Democrat,” he said. “And that is radically changing our approaches and interventions as it relates to erasing poverty, by beginning at the beginning.”