The Sacramento Bee is reporting San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom has begun preparations to run for governor of California.
Newsom's exploratory bid is an effort to get ahead of what could become a crowded Democratic field in 2010. He can use the committee to solicit donations in $24,100 increments, building a war chest 23 months before the Democratic primary for governor.
His timing - opening an account on July 1 -- means he will not have to reveal how much money he has raised for more than six months, until early 2009.
Attorney General Jerry Brown has intimated that he, too, will jump into the race. He reported raising more than $200,000 in June in his reelection account. He recently renamed the account from "Jerry Brown for Attorney General" to "Jerry Brown 2010."
"I don't do too much these days except sue people," he said in a March speech at the state Democratic convention. "But someday maybe I'll get around to doing more than that, and hopefully you'll help."
Lt. Gov John Garamendi has all but said he is running and 2006 candidate and former state Controller Steve Westly and state Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell are expected to seriously consider the race.
State Treasurer Bill Lockyer is sitting on a $10 million campaign account, while Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is a widely discussed candidate, though he first must win reelection in 2009.
Maybe Newsom will explain his concept of the rule of law at the debates.