With L.A. mayor Antonio Villaraigosa now out of the running, San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom has named State Senator Alex Padilla (D-San Fernando Valley) as the chairman of his 2010 gubernatorial campaign. According to Associated Press, Newsom, in town to preside over a town-hall meeting tonight at Taft High School, called Padilla “one of the brightest and most accomplished rising political stars” in the nation.

Padilla, 36, is a former L.A. City Council president and, as an influential Latino and pro-labor politician, is expected to draw Hispanic and union voters to Newsom's column in what is anticipated to be a tough fight with California Attorney General Jerry Brown for the Democratic nomination. Before serving as A.G. and Oakland mayor, Brown, 71, was a popular two-term California governor and a favorite with Mexican American voters, partly because of his support for the United Farm Workers union.

At a downtown news conference, meanwhile, Brown kept in the news today when his office and the Federal Trade Commission jointly announced the filing of 189 lawsuits against allegedly predatory “loan modification consultants.”

LA Weekly