Newsom declares candidacy for lt. governor

March 12, 2010 6:38:58 PM PST
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom has ended weeks of speculation by officially announcing his bid for California lieutenant governor.

Newsom's job at City Hall is up in January 2012. The 42-year-old had campaigned for the top state job, but abruptly dropped out of the governor's race last October. He said his responsibilities to his family and the city were deciding factors. Friday, he said his wife is behind his quest for the number two spot and says he believes he can still be an effective mayor.

As recently as last month Newsom had scoffed at the idea of running for lieutenant governor, telling ABC7 he was not even sure what the lieutenant governor does. The mayor says he has since "opened his mind" and talked with state leaders. He is now convinced he can use that position to advocate for issues he feels strongly about including health care, education and green technology.

"I'm just not a guy who'll sit around at my desk and look forward to the next ribbon cutting," Newsom said. "So I promise you, I'm not going to sit there as lt. governor, just waiting around saying, 'This is really a great job to be something.' I have no interest in that, I want to do something."

Newsom's opponent in the June 8 Democratic primary is 57-year-old Los Angeles City Councilwoman Janice Hahn. ABC7 caught up with her at a women's political caucus in San Rafael. She has released a series of campaign ads that exploit Newsom's initial disinterest in the job. She says she believes that will be a "credibility issue with the people of California."

"It's an opportunity to let Californians know there's one person, me, who really wants the job, has been running for the job and never changed their mind about the job."

Hahn has served nine years as a councilwoman and is in her third and final term. She hopes to become the first female lieutenant governor in California. She says she would help re-direct priorities in Sacramento and criticized state government for raiding the coffers of cities and counties during these tough financial times. Hahn tells ABC7 that she welcomes Newsom's entry into the race because it has brought a level of excitement.

The only other Democratic candidate for the post, State Senate Majority Leader Dean Florez, D-Shafter, dropped out of the race Friday and threw his support behind Newsom.


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