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Experts wonder whether Newsom might end campaign for governor

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Jeff Minton for The New York Times
    San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom strikes a pose for the cameras of The New York Times. Image reprinted with permission.

    The birth of San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom's baby girl is drawing lots of attention.

    Political watchdogs are wondering what it will mean for Newsom's run for governor. Does it give him a new family man appeal or is fatherhood the perfect excuse to end a campaign that has yet to gain traction?

    A week into fatherhood and Newsom is a different man. The mayor reportedly apologized to staffers at city hall last week for not being more understanding about the demands of having children.

    Some wonder if he is setting the stage for an announcement about dropping out of the race for governor because he needs more time for family.

    Newsom's campaign for governor appears to be full steam ahead. He recently secured an endorsement from President Bill Clinton. But while Newsom is now a candidate, the mayor of San Francisco and also a new dad.
     
    The new addition paired with a sluggish campaign is fueling speculation about Newsom possibly dropping out of the race

    "The question is can he juggle all three," said Jim Ross, who ran Newsom's 2003 campaign for mayor. "Gavin Newsom was able to raise just under $6 million dollars from 60,000 people in $500 increments."

    In the governor's race, donors can give up to $25,000 but the cash just isn't rolling in. Newsom has only raised $3 million and according to the California Secretary of State's Office, Newsom has $1.2 million on the books.

    Newsom is not only short on cash but he is also short on popularity.

    Attorney General Jerry Brown hasn't even officially declared he's running for governor but he's leading in the polls and has a substantial war chest.
      
    It's not a recipe for victory.

    "He's not raised enough money to run a credible statewide campaign," Ross said. "His poll numbers haven't moved. The second part of the equation is life (and that) has changed dramatically."

    Facing possible defeat bowing out to spend more time with his daughter is a reason many voters would understand.  

    Newsom's office says the speculation is just that and he plans to keep up the fight for the governor's office.

    Others say once rival Brown announces he is in the race, Newsom will bow out.

    However, Newsom may gain some momentum in October when President Clinton is supposed to host a party for him in Los Angeles.

    But political experts say Newsom needs a big dollar event every week to really get in the race.

    The mayor has also scaled back his campaign since his daughter was born. On Wednesday, Newsom held his first web town hall meeting. The mayor's staffers said 3,400 people logged on over the course of the meeting and no more than 350 watched at any one moment.  This from a man who has more than one million Twitter followers.