Opinion: Gubernatorial preview


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Forget Obama versus McCain, or even Barack versus Hillary; tomorrow morning’s showdown between Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom may be a preview of the 2010 Democratic primary race for California governor.

Or is ‘showdown’ too strong a word? Both mayors will be speaking at the California delegates’ breakfast Thursday on an all-mayors-all-the-time program. And you can bet we’ll hear from both our L.A. guy and the Bay Area man lots of scoffing at a made-up rivalry. I predict a warm embrace, some pokes at the press for desperately trying to find tension, and an Obama-Clinton-style assertion of unquestioned unity.


OK. But really. The whole power (and treasury) of the California Democratic Party is sitting in that huge room. What will the San Diego delegates think of these two guys? The Central Valley folks? How about the real Northern Californians -- not the Bay Area, but the cow (and rice and lumber) counties?

Newsom is one of the few politicians in the state who can make Villaraigosa look like an old guy. Or a Boy Scout. Villaraigosa’s one of the few who can make Newsom look like a conservative. Or a small-town boy. Both were Hillary men. Both switched to Obama in June.

By the way, San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris has been a steady presence at the California delegation breakfasts. Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo is in town, but hasn’t attended the morning festivities. If anyone else is going to seek the Democratic nomination for attorney general in 2010 -- that is, if Jerry Brown forsakes running for re-election to instead run for, uh, re-election -- I can’t imagine who it would be.

Photos of the mayors courtesy of the AP