Gavin Newsom Returns For Statewide Campaign: Will Run For Lt. Gov.

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The Los Angeles Times is reporting tonight that San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom will announce a bid to be California’s lieutenant governor on Friday. It seems all but certain since he took out papers to file for the No. 2 statewide position and paid the fee to get the ball rolling.

Newsom dropped his bid for governor last October, citing unspecified family reasons. California Democrats said at the time he wasn’t earning enough support or donations. Since then, former governor and former Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown has taken the lead. Republican candidates eBay founder Meg Whitman and Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner are facing off for the Republican nomination. (Our coverage of the race is here.)

The current TPM Poll Average of this race shows Brown with 44.4 percent and Whitman with 40.9 percent.Brown holds an even stronger lead over Poizner.

From the LA Times story:

Newsom, a Democrat, has been busily lining up big-name support and donors to make the statewide run.

He has called elected officials and potential donors to inform them he is in the race. Sources familiar with Newsom’s plans say he will unveil a list of endorsements that includes many of the state’s top Democratic leaders. They requested anonymity to allow Newsom make the announcement.

Newsom has formed a fundraising committee for the run, and the first checks for his new statewide bid were reported Thursday. He reported receiving nearly $18,000 from three donors Thursday. He received $6,500 apiece from Mark and Susie Buell, owners of the Esprit clothing company and longtime backers. He also reported receiving $4,950 from Peter Ragone, his former press secretary.