Sacramento Bee | May 31, 2017
by Dan Morain
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Take a number: $171,000
Before becoming current lieutenant governor, Gavin Newsom wondered whether the office ought to exist, at least as currently configured. As Newsom runs for governor, the race to replace him is unusually intense, probably a reflection of the Democratic energy fueled by Donald Trump.
The insider, Senate Health Committee Chair Ed Hernandez, has been running for it for months, and Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León raised $133,500 into his lieutenant governor’s committee in donations of $1,000 or more in May, though he hasn’t said whether he will enter that race or some other in 2018.
The most intriguing candidates are first-timers: Eleni Kounalakis was President Obama’s ambassador to Hungary and a major Hillary Clinton fundraiser. She raised $76,000 in May in donations of $1,000 or more. Asif Mahmood is a Southern California physician inspired to run by President Trump’s anti-Muslim rhetoric. Represented by San Francisco consultant Ace Smith, Mahmood raised $119,000 in May in donations of $1,000 or more. San Francisco attorney Jeff Bleich, Obama’s ambassador to Australia, raised $171,000 in May in donations of 1,000 or more. No Republicans have raised their hands.
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