BREAKING: Gavin Newsom announces 2018 bid for California governor

(Photo: Getty Images)

California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom announced he’d be running for governor in 2018 (Photo: AFP/Getty Images)

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Wednesday that he’s begun fundraising for a run at the 2018 California gubernatorial race.

Newsom could face fellow Democrat Antonio Villaraigosa should the former Los Angeles mayor decide to throw his hat into the ring for governor instead of the 2016 senate race against current Attorney General Kamala Harris.

Wherever Villaraigosa decides to run, he’ll likely bring the Hispanic vote with him. Latinos make up 38 percent of the state’s population, but make up only 17 percent of likely voters, according to the Public Policy Institute of California. 

Newsom in January said he’d pass on the senate chair to be vacated by Sen. Barbara Boxer, which only strengthened speculations that he’d run for governor.   

The Los Angeles Times reported that Newsom’s early announcement was a political message to other potential Democratic candidates and that the lieutenant governor has formed a fundraising committee to maximize his efforts and raise $56,400 per donor for the primary and general elections.

The secretary of state’s office told Guns.com that Newsom hasn’t filed the necessary paperwork for the formation of the committee yet, but will likely do so in the next few days. So far, there are no  campaign committees formed for other candidates in the 2018 race, according to election officials.     

The Times reported that Republicans could see San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin square off in the party’s primaries.

Newsom is a fierce proponent of gun control. The former San Francisco mayor has been known to introduce legislation restricting gun ownership.

“We should continue our efforts to restrict the use of legal guns and we will continue our efforts to stem the tide of illegal guns,” Newsom said in 2007, following the Virginia Tech school shooting where a gunman killed 32 people and wounded 17 others.