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Newsom’s former advisor smacks him down

By Josh Richman
Thursday, February 25th, 2010 at 10:46 am in 2010 election, Gavin Newsom, Janice Hahn, Lt. Governor.

It seems like only a short while ago that I sat down for a cup of coffee with veteran Democratic campaign strategist Garry South so he could tell me how San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom was going to clean state Attorney General Jerry Brown’s clock in the 2010 Democratic gubernatorial primary.

Of course, no. But now South works for Los Angeles City Councilwoman Janice Hahn’s campaign for lieutenant governor, and now that Newsom is threatening to jump into that race and rain on Hahn’s parade, suddenly he doesn’t think Gavin’s all that anymore:

“I am surprised and perplexed that my friend and former client Mayor Gavin Newsom apparently has decided to jump into the lieutenant governor’s race at the last minute – especially against an already-announced candidate who would be the first woman lieutenant governor in California history.

“In every one of several conversations we had about the job while he was running for governor, the Mayor expressed nothing but disinterest in and disdain for the office of lieutenant governor. In fact, he was derisively dismissive of Gray Davis’s decision to run for and serve as lieutenant governor prior to running for governor (‘I’m not a Gray Davis,’ he said). On a couple of occasions, he directed me to repudiate publicly in the strongest terms that he had any interest in ever running for lieutenant governor.

“The Mayor himself told the Chronicle in October that rumors he may run for lieutenant governor were ‘absurd’ and ‘a complete lie,’ and angrily accused Jerry Brown of personally spreading false information to that effect. As recently as December, he himself said flatly ‘no’ when asked directly on a San Francisco radio show whether he intended to run for lieutenant governor.

“In addition, when he precipitously pulled out of the governor’s race in late October – against my advice – he said he couldn’t continue as a statewide candidate because he was a husband, a new father and the mayor of San Francisco. So far as I know, he’s still a husband, a new father and the mayor of San Francisco. So it’s pretty hard to see what’s changed over the last four months that would now allow him to run for another statewide office.

“If the Mayor does run, it is his responsibility to explain why he now claims to want an elected office he summarily dismissed publicly numerous times over the last several months, and which just earlier this year he called ‘a largely ceremonial post’ … ‘with no real authority and no real portfolio.’”

Maybe that first paragraph should’ve read “former friend.”

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  • rosa

    Gimme a break! South’s a Democratic campaign strategist–he’s never worked “for” any candidate, only for the party. The DNC is just throwing the Sacrificial Gav at any race that the Republicans are commanding the most media attention in at the time.

  • Ted Lawrence

    What are you talking about? First, South has worked for numerous Republicans in his career in both Ohio and California (His first major client in California was a Republican running for County Supervisor in LA) Second, in California we have a tradition going back to the Hiram Johnson era of weak political parties. Neither party “gets” someone to run for office. They choose to do so and raise most of the money and put together the organization themselves.

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