San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom said today that he has former President Bill Clinton’s support in his campaign for California governor.
Clinton will participate in two events with Newsom on Oct. 5 in Los Angeles, including one that will benefit the mayor’s primary campaign in the gubernatorial race, Newsom said.
Newsom said he is honored to have Clinton’s endorsement and called it “significant.” He made the remarks at an afternoon news conference at City Hall to announce the opening of a European solar power company’s headquarters in San Francisco.
Newsom said he and Clinton have enjoyed a close working relationship over the years and are discussing to what extent Clinton will be involved in his campaign.
Recent polls show Newsom trailing far behind Attorney General Jerry Brown, although Brown has not officially announced his candidacy.
“Mark my words, these polls are going to change dramatically,” Newsom said.
“Everyone keeps focusing on someone who hasn’t even entered the race,” he said. “I’m focused on winning the race.”
Brown senior adviser Steven Glazer said of the Clinton endorsement, “It’s not a surprise.”
He declined to comment further other than to say, “Jerry Brown is doing his job as attorney general, protecting consumers and prosecuting criminals. We will put politics aside for another day.”
Jack Citrin, professor of political science at the University of California at Berkeley, said Clinton’s support will boost Newsom’s fundraising power and may bring additional endorsements.
“From the point of view of Newsom’s campaign, (Clinton is) obviously an asset,” Citrin said. “But the other question really is, how big of an asset? What does it really translate into? And I think that is much harder to assess.”
Asked whether Clinton’s support would enable Newsom to catch up to Brown in the polls, Citrin answered quickly, “No.”
“In and of itself, it’s not going to make a major impact … I doubt that many primary voters would be swayed,” Citrin said.