S.F. Mayor Newsom will run for governor

The announcement puts the two-term mayor in the midst of a potentially crowded field; early polls show him trailing.

Published April 21, 2009 9:25PM (EDT)

On Tuesday, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom officially jumped into what could be yet another crowded race to be the governor of California. Forecasting a gubernatorial campaign that will attempt to build on President Obama's success in attracting young voters, especially through the Internet, Newsom made the announcement on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. (Video below.)

Newsom will have to work hard if he's going to pull off what would be a come-from-behind victory. According to a Field Poll conducted last month, Newsom is running third behind two other Democrats who could enter the race for their party's nomination, state Attorney General Jerry Brown and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. And if Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein jumps in the race, she'd lead all three by a wide margin.

If Newsom can capture the Democratic nomination, he'd likely face additional difficulty in the general election, as independents and Republicans aren't wild about him for various reasons, including his prominent support for same-sex marriages in the state and his tumultuous personal life. According to the same poll, many Californians don't yet know enough about the mayor to form an opinion about him either way, but 30 percent of independents say they have an unfavorable opinion of him, while 28 percent view him favorably.

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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