| To say that Eric Jaye has led the politics behind SF Mayor Gavin Newsom is something of misstatement. Sure, if you google his name, you'll find a bunch of accusations about Jaye being some sort of puppet-master. But that never was really true, Jaye worked extremely well with Newsom, in ways few others have really been able to emulate. Jaye certainly was there every step of the way, but his relationship wasn't of a puppet and a master. There were always too many people around Newsom for that really to be the case.
When Newsom hired Garry South there were whispers that Jaye was being sidelined. Turns out it was true:
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom's longtime top political strategist, Eric Jaye, has resigned from his gubernatorial campaign. "There was a fundamental difference in how to run the campaign," Jaye told us today.(SF Chronicle 7/27/09)
Look, you certainly don't bring somebody like South on-board and expect everything to stay the same. Now, South is a man whom I don't always see eye-to-eye with, but he has won a statewide race with the ever-popular Gray Davis. But, being that it was Gray Davis, you do have to give him props for winning with that horse.
Now, South has a history with the radical moderates over at the Democratic Leadership Council, and that's how he won with Davis. He talked ToughOnCrimeTM, business, and all that jive. And it won him the 1998 election. But California is in a very different place today than it was then. If Garry South is going to be running Newsom's campaign, he'll have to update his strategy. It didn't work with Steve Westly, and it won't fare much better now.
For the time being, I'll reserve judgment, but Eric Jaye was an enormous asset to Newsom's campaign. It is hard to see how a departure of somebody with that kind of relationship and with that kind of intricate knowledge of the candidate is good for the campaign.