Newsom abandons 2010 governor's race

Mayor Gavin Newsom has dropped out of the 2010 governor’s race.

Newsom, 42, bowed out Friday after struggling to match the millions of dollars that his expected Democratic primary opponent, state Attorney General Jerry Brown, had raised.

Newsom also trailed Brown in the polls even though Brown, a former governor and former Oakland mayor, has yet to declare his candidacy. Brown announced an exploratory committee for the post in September.

Brown raised $3.5 million in the first six months of the year — ostensibly for reelection to his current post — according to the California Secretary of State's Web site. The site showed he had $7.4 million saved up after the June 30 filing deadline.

Newsom collected $1.7 million during the first half of the year, and had even less saved up, the Web site indicates.

A statement released Friday by the Newsom for California campaign cited family responsibilities as well as time demands for the mayor's withdrawal from the race.

“With a young family and responsibilities at city hall, I have found it impossible to commit the time required to complete this effort the way it needs to — and should be — done,” Newsom said. “This is not an easy decision. But it is one made with the best intentions for my wife, my daughter, the residents of the city and county of San Francisco, and California Democrats.”

Newsom attempted to fashion his gubernatorial candidacy after President Barack Obama’s campaign, building an online presence and fetching “grassroots” funding. But those efforts were hardly enough to topple the veteran Brown, particularly in a state race in which money talks or candidates walk, said pollster Ben Tulchin.</p>

The first sign of trouble in his campaign came in July, when longtime political adviser Eric Jaye resigned over a strategy dispute. Later in the game, while Newsom was running a city and still trying to create a buzz on the Internet, Brown was on the phones dialing for donations and courting support, Tulchin said.

The online strategy might work for presidential races, but has no bearing on governor’s races, Tulchin said.

Newsom’s campaign was finally doomed after an endorsement from former President Bill Clinton proved fruitless. A Clinton fundraiser in Los Angeles pulled in just 13 donations of more than $5,000 — clearly not enough to gain traction on Brown.

“The proof is in the pudding,” Tulchin said. “Jerry was in his condo in Oakland calling people. Gavin was busy running a city.”

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