Newsom throws in hat for lt. governor run

Ending months of speculation and debate, Gavin Newsom will seek the No. 2 seat in Sacramento, making his bid official today, The Examiner has learned.

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 on Thursday reported his first contributions to his latest campaign.

Newsom, who is termed out as mayor next year, will join front-runners Janice Hahn, a Los Angeles councilwoman, and state Sen. Dean Florez of Shafter in the June 8 primary.

It will be the 42-year-old’s second statewide campaign, five months after dropping out of the governor’s race, where he struggled to raise money. Upon leaving the race, he said he needed to spend time with his family and newborn daughter.

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.

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 seat, it will open the door for the Board of Supervisors to appoint a new mayor, and Newsom has expressed concern about who might be picked.

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 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.

esherbert@sfexaminer.com

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 Expected to officially announce bid for lieutenant governor seat

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