Newsom mulling bid for lieutenant governor 

Though he says he hasn’t made up his mind yet on a run for California lieutenant governor, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom may have an ace up his sleeve if he decides to get in the game.

Political consultant Averell “Ace” Smith has been working closely with Newsom since January on two contentious ballot measures planned for the June and November elections. Smith has plenty of statewide and national election experience, and Newsom has been without a strategist since he dropped out of the governor’s race in October, only months after close friend and political strategist Eric Jaye resigned.

“Ace came on about a month ago to help with local issues,” Newsom said Friday evening at the La Raza labor dinner at the Irish American Cultural Center. He added only that they were measures on the June 8 and Nov.  2 ballots.

Newsom is working to pass a major bond measure that would rebuild firehouses, police headquarters and the Fire Department’s emergency water supply system. The $652 million measure was meant for the June ballot but could be pushed to November.

The mayor is also backing Supervisor Sean Elsbernd’s measure to reform The City’s pension system, a measure that has run up against opposition from labor because it would require increased contributions from city workers.

While the current candidates for lieutenant governor will be turning in their candidate statements this week, Newsom said the only deadline he is concerned about is March 12, when nomination papers are due.

“I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t an ember there,” Newsom said of his interest. “A lot of people are calling me and asking me to run.”

Newsom said he is spending time with his family this weekend to think about entering the race. He would face Democratic frontrunners Los Angeles City Councilwoman Janice Hahn and state Sen. Dean Florez of Shafter in the primary.

Reached by phone Saturday, Smith said he didn’t have “anything to offer by way of a comment.”

bbegin@sfexaminer.com

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