Mayor's affair gets messy *

In San Francisco, that is. Mayor Gavin Newsom's former deputy chief of staff and current re-election campaign manager, Alex Tourk, resigned Wednesday after confronting his boss about an affair Newsom had with his wife, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Ruby Rippey-Tourk had been Newsom's appointments secretary and told her husband of the affair as part of a rehab program for substance abuse. The reported affair occurred about a year and a half ago while Newsom was getting divorced. It was short-lived, the paper says, citing sources at city hall there.

Alex Tourk "confronted the mayor on the issue this afternoon, expressed his feeling about the situation in an honest and pointed way, and resigned,' said one source close to Tourk and his wife.

Tourk's resignation was announced in a statement that Newsom's campaign released Wednesday. The statement quoted Tourk as saying only that he was resigning for personal reasons.

Newsom is running for reelection in November. A quickie online poll at the Chronicle website finds 55% of readers saying the disclosure shows lack of judgement on the mayor's part, but 45% say it doesn't affect their opinion of him. Eric Jaye, Newsom's chief political adviser, predicted "there will be a minor amount of turbulence, but as long as the mayor continues to do his job, it will have no lasting effect."

* Newsom confirms: "Everything you heard and read is true," Newsom told reporters this morning. "I am deeply sorry about that. I am also sorry that I have let the people of San Francisco down. I am committed to restoring their trust and confidence." LAT

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