Newsom didn't win in Los Angeles

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I usually go to the California state Democratic Conventions, but I missed this one, so I've had to rely on news coverage to find out what happened -- and it's been pretty slim pickins. To read the Chron's politics blog, you'd think the whole thing was silliness and parties, although Carla Marinucci got a fun comment from party Chair John Burton, who thinks the only thing that will drive the youth vote in November is pot.

But the news for people following the fate Gavin Newsom is that our mayor didn't get the party's endorsement for lieutenant governor. Matier and Ross spin it as a sorta, kinda victory:

Mayor Gavin Newsom didn't get the state Democratic Party endorsement in his race for lieutenant governor, but he got the next best thing: keeping rival L.A. City Councilwoman Janice Hahn from getting it.

And technically, that's true -- Hahn ran hard for the endorsement, and really needed a boost, since she's far behind in name recognition and money. But it was hardly a resounding win for the front-runner.

Newsom got 52 percent of the vote, short of the 60 percent needed for an endorsement. His campaign says, correctly, that he whupped Hahn, who got 42 percent.

But what's remarkable is that Newsom had the support of all the party bigwigs -- Nancy Pelosi, Dianne Feinstein, Burton -- the folks who can usually pull strings and make sure that their candidate gets the nod. The truth is, Hahn never had a chance here; there was absolutely no way the L.A. council member was going to get enough votes to win the endorsement. Her only real play was to block Newsom -- and she pulled it off.

So I wouldn't call this a win for Newsom; I'd say it's a sign that the grassroots Democrats are not entirely sold on the San Francisco mayor.

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