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Villaraigosa Raises Funds--and Eyebrows--in San Francisco

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Fundraising events when re-election campaigns are imminent are nothing all that noteworthy, unless you happen to be the Mayor of Los Angeles getting cash in another Mayor's territory, namely Mayor Gavin Newsom of San Francisco.

Tonight at the Neiman-Marcus store in SF's Union Square, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa will be the central feature of an "invitation-only champagne reception" which is "expected to raise tens of thousands of dollars for his re-election bid next spring," reports SF Gate.

But what is attracting the most speculation is not the fact that he's raising funds in NorCal, but what names are listed as the event co-chairs: SF's former Mayor Willie Brown and District Attorney Kamala Harris. With a gubernatorial race on the horizon, some see this move as laying the foundation for a battle of the big-city mayors for the title of Governor of California, with SF Mayor Newsom as our Mayor Tony's major opponent.

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What's tipping speculators towards seeing this as a preview of the 2010 election battle is the fact that Newsom's name is not on the list of invitees for tonight's shindig, and that "Harris' high-profile involvement in the Villaraigosa fundraiser [is] a swipe at Newsom." Those eying LA's political landscape think perhaps this early and pricey ($1,000 per guest tonight) fundraiser is Villaraigosa's way of solidifying his position as the sole contender for the Mayor's office in '09, which currently is uncontested. More money early in the game may "fend off possible competition."

For those thinking Villaraigosa is spending too much time outside of town, perhaps his pre-flight schedule today will be appeasing; according to the Daily News: "Before heading to Northern California, Villaraigosa will attend another fundraiser in downtown Los Angeles."

Photo by Korean Resource Center 민족학�? via Flickr