Gavin watch: The Lt. Gov. rumors

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Hold off on the celibrating -- or commiserating

The rumors that Newsom is going to announce imminently that he’s running for Lt. Governor turned out to be a bit premature.

But I am still hearing from very solid sources that he’s seriously considering jumping into the race -- and while the San Francisco left didn’t back his run for governor, this would be a very different campaign. The Lt. Gov. isn’t really in charge of anything, but has a certain amount of power, not just from the platform and the ability to issue press statements (one of Newsom’s favorite hobbies), but because that person gets a seat on the state Lands Commission (offshore oil drilling) and the U.C. Regents (education cuts). Newsom would most likely be fine on both issues.

And the truth is, we all know Newsom doesn’t really want to be a wine clerk.

And lieutenant governors are often well positioned to move on to higher offices it worked for John Kerry, for example (and for Gray Davis, if you call that working). I think Newsom would love to position himself to run for U.S. Senate when Dianne Feinstein, who will be 79 when her current term expires in 2012, decides to retire.

And, of course, from the perspective of progressives infuriated with what he’s done as mayor, it would get him out of town a year early, and let this district-elected board appoint a new chief executive.

That’s got all sorts of talk started, with the typical Chronicle-style “Oh My God Aaron Peskin could be mayor” stuff (and let’s be serious -- Peskin would be a way better mayor than the current occupant of Room 200) to serious discussion about how this will affect the 2011 mayor’s race.

If any of the current contenders could round up six votes, it would be a major boost; that person could then run as an incumbent.

I don’t think this board would ever choose state Sen. Leland Yee, who is positioning himself for the run. City Attorney Dennis Herrera? Maybe -- but given how pissed some of the progressives are about the Sanctuary Ordiance, it would be a stretch.

Sfist is running a poll, and right now it looks like the readers like Ross Mirkarimi but think Peskin or David Chiu is a more likely winner.

And trust me, even the thought of Gavin leading town has that scramble already heating up.