Democratic Candidates debate in Lincoln Park - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Democratic Candidates debate in Lincoln Park

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SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8/AP) - Democrats vying to be California's next governor on Thursday held a debate in San Diego.

Gavin Newsom, Antonio Villaraigosa, Delaine Eastin and John Chiang squared off at the Jacobs Center in Lincoln Park.

Newsom wants to replace his boss, Jerry Brown, who is in his last year in office. In addition to the endorsement, Newsom heads into the June 5 primary with more campaign funding than his rivals from both parties combined.

Figures released late last month show Newsom had nearly $17 million in the bank at the end of last year and another $3 million left from a prior campaign.

His main Democratic opponents are former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and state Treasurer John Chiang. Also running is former state schools Superintendent Delaine Easton.

A recent poll had Newsom and Villaraigosa virtually neck-and-neck as the front-runners among likely voters.

Villaraigosa's campaign had no comment about the Harris endorsement on the ex-mayor's home turf.

Both have endorsements from powerful groups: Newsom from the 700,000-member Service Employees International Union California and Villaraigosa from the California Police Chiefs Association and the Peace Officers Research Association of California.

Chiang has received endorsements from Rep. Judy Chu and Rep. Grace Napolitano and state Assembly members Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher and Sharon Quirk-Silva.

Democrats are favored to keep control of the governor's chair, in the state where the party holds every statewide office and controls both chambers of the Legislature by hefty margins. Democrats also count a 3.7 million edge in voter registrations.

The Republican candidates include businessman John Cox of San Diego, state Assemblyman Travis Allen of Huntington Beach, and former U.S. Rep. Doug Ose.

While Democrats will be coming into town this weekend, the state's Republican are also planning to hold their annual convention in San Diego in early May.

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