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Gavin Newsom, who faces significant challenges to gain political traction in Southern California, today named state senator and former Los Angeles city council member Alex Padilla to chair his 2010 gubernatorial campaign.

Padilla's appointment may boost Newsom among Latino voters and give him some extra reach in the L.A. media market where the San Francisco mayor lags behind likely Democratic candidate Jerry Brown in name recognition.

Padilla was elected to the Los Angeles City Council at 26 in 1999 and became council president in 2001. His 20th Senate District, representing 850,000 residents, covers a wide swath of the L.A. region.

"Senator Alex Padilla is one of the brightest and most accomplished rising political stars not just in Los Angeles but anywhere in the country," Newsom said in a statement. "I look forward to working side by side with Alex to bring about the change Sacramento needs."

Padilla said in a statement that he is "convinced that Gavin Newsom will bring that change to state government in a way that no other candidate in this race can."


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