Newsom Moves Up a Peg to Lt. Gov

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    SACRAMENTO, CA - OCTOBER 31: San Francisco mayor and Democratic Lt. governer candidate Gavin Newsom speaks during a campaign rally with California Attorney General and democratic gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown at Winn Park October 31, 2010 in Sacramento, California. With less than a week to go until election day, Jerry Brown is continuing his three day campaign trip throughout California in hopes of defeating his Republican opponent and former eBay CEO Meg Whitman. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

    Mayor Gavin Newsom is a lifelong Giants' fan, who has been known to frequent the ballpark during the good times and the bad times.

    Complete Coverage: Decision 2010

    But a day after the team brought the first World Series title ever to the City by the bay, Newsom was hoping to catch a bad case of victory fever himself -- and he did.  It was one of the last statewide races called Tuesday, but Newsom is projected to defeat Republican incumbent Abel Moldonado to become the next lieutenant governor, 49-41, with 88 percent of the precincts reporting.

    The liberal Democrat managed to throw a party for his hometown heroes Tuesday and he had another one planned for Wednesday, but Election Day was all about Newsom's political future.

    Newsom had his sights set on a higher state office earlier this year, but ultimately his campaign for governor was derailed by low funding and quite possibly an image problem. In the cozy confines of San Francisco, Newsom may not be seen as liberal enough but across the state, and even the nation, the mayor is known as the politician who defied an edict and married same-sex couples.

    Whether he likes it or not, Newsom has become the poster boy for what's wrong with the Democratic party in some Republican circles. And the party has used that to push Maldonado up in more conservative pockets outside the Bay Area.

    But that's why a stint as lieutenant governor may be the perfect resting spot for a politician who just a few short years ago was considered a rising star in the Democratic party before his career came off the hinges -- albeit temporarily -- by personal scandal.

    Many pundits consider the lieutenant governor position to be a natural stepping stone to the governor's seat or even a U.S. Senate bid.

    Maldonado had -- and probably still has -- his own aspirations of political grandeur.