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Antonio Villaraigosa's decision to honor his L.A. mayoral gig and not to run for governor had just given Gavin Newsom a chance to own the stage as the new generation challenger to likely Democratic favorite Jerry Brown.

And yet the San Francisco mayor seemed melancholy when asked at a Tuesday presser in the City about his L.A. colleague.

"I called him yesterday and obviously it was a tough decision for him to make," Newsom said of Villaraigosa, a veteran lawmaker and former Assembly speaker. "...In spite of some of the punditry, Antonio Villaraigosa and I have always gotten along and I admire his stewardship and his commitment. He has been in office for decades and has served, I think, very, very well."

Newsom, who said he was "surprised, but not shocked" by Villaraigosa's announcement demurred on whether he thought he now has a better chance of getting elected governor with the L.A. mayor out of the race.

"People like me should not answer those questions," Newsom said.


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