US Senator Dianne Feinstein officially announced yesterday what everyone had known for months — that she’s not running for governor against her good friend Attorney General Jerry Brown. At the same time, Brown’s former Democratic rival for the governor’s office, San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom, appears poised to jump into the race for lieutenant governor, according to the Chron.
Newsom has assembled a stable of political consultants and apparently plans to file an official candidate statement today. He will become the instant frontrunner in the race to replace John Garamendi, who is now in Congress. The Chron also reports that Newsom apparently intends to downplay his role in the gay-marriage debate, which hurt him before he dropped out of the governor’s race last year.
Newsom’s main rival for lieutenant governor likely will be Republican state Senator Abel Maldonado, who has been renominated by Governor Schwarzenegger after the state Assembly refused to confirm him last week. If the Assembly changes course and approves Maldonado in a second floor vote, then he will be have a leg up on Newsom by running as the incumbent.
As for Feinstein, she was never a serious candidate for governor, and few expected her to stand in the way of Brown. After all, she performed his wedding ceremony at Oakland’s Rotunda Building back when he was mayor.