Mayor McHottie's New Girlfriend -- Half His Age

Even some of the mayor's enemies think his romance is just fun gossip. Jack Davis, a political consultant who's been actively courting former 49ers president Carmen Policy to run against Newsom next year, seems blasé about the relationship. "Of all the cities in the world, San Francisco would be the last place that would raise an eyebrow," says Davis. "If he was French-kissing a colleague, it might raise an eyebrow. ... It might be an issue on a national stage, but certainly not locally."

And why would a young woman be interested in dating a man almost twice her age, even if he is the mayor? "What makes him more appealing is how much power he wields," says Carol Berkin, a political historian at Baruch College in New York, who points out that Confederate leader Jefferson Davis was 38 when he married a 17-year-old girl.

"What gets the heart beating fast is that he's got a chauffeur or that he's the top man in San Francisco," Berkin adds. "This is what women have been conditioned to find attractive."

And San Francisco seems to be full of young women who would happily trade places with Mountz. Beth Spotswood, a 28-year-old development director, started a blog almost two years ago devoted to chronicling her crush on Newsom. And what does Spotswood find so special about Newsom? "Other than the fact that he's a flawlessly dressed, breathtaking man?" she gushes. And then there's Stefania Pomponi Butler, who recently posted high school yearbook photos of "Mayor McHottie" on her CityMama blog, asking her readers, "Am I turning into a crazy stalker or what?"

The only time the mayor's budding romance seemed to bother people in San Francisco was when it was revealed that Mountz was a registered Republican. "How dare he?" asked one city official. "He knows how to pick 'em. You can count the young female Republicans in this town on one hand."

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