Update: Brown, Whitman comment on Newsom decision to end gubernatorial bid

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom dropped out of the race for governor Friday, following a weak showing in public opinion polls and uncertainties about fund-raising.

"It is with great regret I announce today that I am withdrawing from the race for governor of California," Newsom said in a release Friday.  "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,"

"This is not an easy decision. But it is one made with the best intentions for my wife, my daughter, the residents of the city and county of San Francisco, and California Democrats."

Newsom's departure leaves state Attorney General Jerry Brown – who has not yet officially declared his candidacy — alone as the major contender in the 2010 Democratic primary.

In a statement Friday, Brown said, ""Mayor Newsom is a talented public official and I believe he has a bright future.  I am sure this was not an easy decision.  Anne and I wish Gavin and his family all the best."

GOP gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman's campaign also issued a statement Friday. "“Meg wishes Mayor Newsom well and looks forward to a spirited campaign against the eventual Democratic nominee.”

Newsom, a liberal Democrat, also had been dogged about questions about his personal conduct, including an affair with the wife of one of his campaign staff members.

The 42-year-old Newsom, handsome and telegenic, was elected mayor of San Francisco in 2003. He described himself as a "social liberal and a fiscal watchdog." He earlier had been married to television commentator Kimberly Guilfoyle, who hosts a program on the Fox News Channel. The couple filed for divorce in 2005. Last year, Newsom married actress Jennifer Siebel.

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