The post is largely ceremonial, but rivals Gavin Newsom, of San Francisco gay-marriage fame, and incumbent Abel Maldonado, a Republican who crossed the aisle to vote with the Democrats on a state budget, are taking the campaign seriously.
One candidate is a far-left Bay Area mayor with a polarizing political history, a hefty war chest and national name recognition. The other is a Republican moderate with less money, a lower profile and the incumbency.
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