What promised to be a race filled with Democratic powerhouses has been handed to just one man who hasn't even announced he's running. San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom today announced he's dropping out of the race to become the Democratic nominee for governor next year.

The announcement was a stunner. Newsom was widely seen as a frontrunner for the Democratic nod, especially after Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, smarting from his marital problems and so-so approval ratings locally, announced he wasn't going to run. Newsom operated a high-tech machine, often using email to reach out constituents.

But observers say it wasn't enough, and that the mayor was struggling to find funding even in his own hometown. His poll numbers weren't that great either. Jerry Brown, California's Attorney General, is a former governor who has been using his legal pulpit to make headlines. He's made waves by going against loan-modifications scams, for example.

Early on race watchers speculated that there would be a robust race if U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein threw her hat into the ring and Brown, Newsom and Villaraigosa also ran. She declined to step into the fray, and now there's one.

Meanwhile, the Republican ticket still has a robust lineup that includes former eBay CEO Meg Whitman, state Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner and Congressman Tom Campbell.

Newsom issued this statement today:

“It is with great regret I announce today that I am withdrawing from the

race for governor of California. With a young family and

responsibilities at city hall, I have found it impossible to commit the

time required to complete this effort the way it needs to — and should

be — done.”

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