San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom announced his official withdrawal from the 2010 gubernatorial race on Oct. 30, leaving the Democratic Party without a candidate for next November’s election.
The only other Democratic contender — Attorney General and former governor Jerry Brown — has created an exploratory committee to determine whether or not he should run, but has not officially declared his candidacy.
Newsom cited family reasons for his withdrawal.
“With a young family and responsibilities at City Hall, I have found it impossible to commit the time required to complete this effort the way it needs to and should be done,” he said in a statement.
UCSD College Democrat Vice President Andrew Wung said Newsom’s decision can likely be attributed to the high cost of running a gubernatorial campaign and the 20-point lead Brown maintained in several recent polls.
In 2003, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger spent $13.2 million on his campaign. Brown has so far raised $7.3 million, while Newsom raised only $1.6 million during his seven-month campaign.
The Field Poll — a nonpartisan organization that asked 1,005 people about their voting preferences over a 20-day period — revealed that, between Brown and Newsom, 47 percent of Californians said they would vote Brown, while only 27 percent said they would support Newsom.
“He couldn’t pick up the numbers … even though, at UCSD, he found a lot of support from the students,” Wong said. “I find that outside of San Francisco, he’s struggling to find more numbers — in terms of fundraising, in terms of support, etc.”
Brown gained the support of unions and a wider range of voters than Newsom, especially in the 65-and-over age group. According to the Field Poll, Newsom has only 17 percent of the vote in that demographic, compared to Brown’s 62 percent.
Analysts have also been speculating about the potential candidacy of Senator Dianne Feinstein (D–Calif.), who has had stronger numbers than Newsom in the past.
An additional survey taken by the Field Poll added Feinstein to the list of hypothetical candidates. Between Feinstein, Brown and Newsom, Feinstein led with 40 percent of the vote — coming in ahead of Brown, who had 27 percent of the vote. Newsom came in last with only 16 percent.
Feinstein, however, has not publicly indicated interest in the 2010 race.
Newsom had the strongest support among voters aged 18 to 39 — the only area where he edged out Brown with a 41-percent approval rating. According to Wung, Newsom’s popularity among young voters is at least partially due to the attention he has placed on issues related to college students and, in particular, the University of California’s budget crisis.
So far, Newsom has been the only candidate to directly address the UC fee increases and walkouts.
“I favor fully funding the UC system,” Newsom said in a statement released Sept. 23.
Wong said Newsom’s views on education were critical in his own choice to back the San Francisco mayor.
“Newsom has come out in support of repealing the tuition increase and having a tuition freeze, whereas Jerry Brown has not done anything at all,” Wung said.
Readers can contact Hayley Bisceglia-Martin at [email protected]