Ending weeks of speculation, Mayor Gavin Newsom officially announced this morning he will run for California lieutenant governor.
Newsom, who is termed out as mayor next year, will be putting an end to months of speculation about his future in politics. He will join front-runners Janice Hahn, a Los Angeles councilwoman, and state Sen. Dean Florez of Shafter in the June 8 Democratic primary.
It will be the 42-year-old’s second statewide campaign. He dropped out of the governor’s race after five months after struggling to raise money and saying he needed to spend time with his family and newborn daughter.
If his wins the June 8 primary for lieutenant governor, Newsom will be running on the same ticket as his previous rival, state Attorney General Jerry Brown. The two engaged in a fundraising battle in 2008 to replace termed-out Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Brown easily buried Newsom by amassing a large political war chest.
Newsom opened his campaign committee for lieutenant governor Wednesday and reported receiving $17,950 in contributions.
Newsom’s fundraising committee received $6,500 apiece from Mark and Susie Buell, both of whom were major contributors to the mayor’s aborted gubernatorial campaign, state records show. Newsom also received $4,950 from Peter Ragone, his former press secretary. Also on Wednesday, Newsom took out papers to run for the office from the San Francisco County elections department and paid a $2,600 filing fee.
Business leaders were urging Newsom not to jump into the race at a time when San Francisco is battling a more than $500 million budget deficit and a 9.4 percent unemployment rate. They see Newsom as a counterbalance to the left-leaning, progressive majority on the Board of Supervisors. If he does win the primary and the general election in November, it will open the door for the Board of Supervisors to appoint a new mayor, and Newsom has expressed concern about who supervisors might pick.
Setting aside politics, Newsom said San Francisco residents should pick an interim mayor, not the Board of Supervisors.
“It was never anyone’s intention to give that to the district-elected Board of Supervisors,” Newsom told reporters earlier this week. “I’m not convinced that’s what [voters] would like to see.”
He said he was interested in the idea of holding a special election for a new mayor should he win the race for lieutenant governor. However, Matt Dorsey, spokesman for the city attorney, could not confirm if there was legislation currently being drafted that would allow for a special election.
Newsom has said while he loves being the chief executive of San Francisco, he believes he could have a strong impact on The City and the state serving as lieutenant governor.
The lieutenant governor serves on boards overseeing higher education and the environment. That person also serves as the acting governor when the governor is absent. The lieutenant governor presides over the business of the state Senate. In the event of a tie, the lieutenant governor must cast the deciding vote.
“Being in a position where you can fight for cities and counties, where you can organize counties around homeless policy and health care policy and education reform, and you have the bully pulpit, to me that’s not [non]symbolic,” Newsom said in an interview. “You can actually make a real impact.”
Gavin Newsom’s history in politics
1995 Hosted a private fundraiser for mayoral candidate Willie Brown
1996 Appointed by then-Mayor Willie Brown to Parking and Traffic Commission
1997 Appointed to the Board of Supervisors at age 29
1998 Elected to the Board of Supervisors
2000 Re-elected as supervisor
2002 Re-elected, unopposed, as supervisor
2003 Elected mayor
2007 Re-elected mayor by wide margin
April 2009 Announces bid for governor
October 2009 Withdraws from gubernatorial race
Today Officially announces bid for lieutenant governor seat