Donors ignore scandal, give mayor nearly $1M 

Despite a highlypublicized sex scandal and admission of alcohol abuse, Mayor Gavin Newsom has raised nearly $1 million for his re-election efforts, according to a campaign official.

In 2006, the Gavin Newsom for Mayor campaign raised $642,892, according to finance statements released last month. The 1,500 donors included San Francisco Catholic Charities Director Brian Cahill, philanthropist Dede Wilsey, film director/preschool advocate Rob Reiner, Gap founder Donald Fisher, financier Warren Hellman, SF Symphony Conductor Michael Tilson Thomas, San Francisco State University President Robert Corrigan, San Francisco Chamber of Commerce Vice President Jim Lazarus and actress Sharon Stone.

After the mayor dropped a double bombshell of news earlier this month — that he had an affair with a former secretary, who was also the wife of his campaign manager, and that he has a problem with alcohol — the campaign eased off on fundraising efforts, according to Newsom’s chief campaign strategist, Eric Jaye.

"Two weeks ago, we went out of our way to say, ‘Come and listen, give if you want,’" Jaye said.

In addition, "about five people" withdrew financial support out of approximately 2,000 donors, said Jaye, who said the amount lost was only a few thousand dollars.

"Fundraising and friendraising" is now back to normal and full speed ahead, Jaye said, adding that Newsom is now close to hitting the million-dollar mark. Campaign finance statements to verify Newsom’s fundraising efforts from January to June of this year won’t be available until July 31.

No serious challengers have officially filed papers to run against Newsom this November, although a candidate from The City’s progressive contingent is expected to surface in the coming months. Among others, speculated to run are Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin, former Treasure Island head Tony Hall, District 5 Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi and former Board of Supervisors President and mayoral challenger Matt Gonzalez, although most have publicly denied a potential campaign.

Nonetheless, Newsom’s political strategists are preparing for an "aggressive campaign," to win the mayor a second term, Jaye said. For his 2003 win, Newsom spent a record-breaking $5.7 million.

Nathan Nayman, a Newsom campaign contributor and the director of the business advocacy group The Committee on Jobs, said the Newsom supporters he has spoken to still back the mayor.

"I think a lot of people have a lot of opinions about the news that happened, but at the end of the day, they understand the difference between people’s personal lives and their professional abilities," Nayman said.

Each day until voters go to the polls Nov. 6, The Examiner lays odds on local figures beating Mayor Gavin Newsom. Check out our exclusive blog: San Francisco's Next Mayor?

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