Anyhow, it's granted that Newsom and his people realize that Lt. Gov is not a career trampoline. The job's amorphous and little-monitored duties offer someone like Newsom ample opportunity to stay on center stage, make speeches, and face little to no public scrutiny for whatever the hell the Lt. Gov does or does not do. If nothing else, it'd be a chance to fly in circles until a runway opens up via a Congressional race, a Senatorial spot, or a plum position with L'Oreal.
And yet, there's another question to ask: Since potential opponent Janice Hahn is the scion of a well-known Los Angeles family -- and there are more votes down there than there are up here -- and since she's got Garry South calling the shots, a Newsom victory would be no cakewalk.
If lieutenant governor is, more often than not, a career-killer for politicians -- what happens to folks who don't even make it and lose out in the primaries?
You'd think that'd be the ultimate political kiss of death: Finishing in second place for the second-place job. And, usually, it is. But, then again, the candidate beaten out by Garamendi in 2006 was none other than Jackie Speier -- currently a Congresswoman, following Rep. Tom Lantos' death.
Other than that, however, it's hard to find Democratic also-rans well known ouside their immediate family: Liz Figueroa came third to Garamendi and Speier last time 'round, but she isn't unemployed. In fact, she was appointed to the state Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board. To put it mildly, this doesn't seem to be the sort of political outcome Newsom is aspiring for.
In 2002, Cruz Bustamante beat out a man named Ronald J. Like -- and Like got, like, exactly, 543 votes. The also-ran in 1998? Tony Miller. Yes, that Tony Miller. And in '94 -- a guy named Philip R. Ashmallah. And in 1990? That'd be Danny Abramowicz. Actually, just kidding there -- but he did play for the '74 Niners.
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