Bill Clinton Endorses Newsom in Campaign for Governor

October 6, 2009 Updated: October 6, 2009

Former President Bill Clinton was in Los Angeles on Monday to lend support to San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom in his bid for the California gubernatorial race in 2010.

Clinton, who last month pledged his support to Newsom’s campaign for the democratic nod in the gubernatorial race, is expected to join the San Francisco mayor at a high-profile private fundraiser in Los Angeles on Monday evening.

Newsom made the national headlines in 2004 when he defied state law and directed the city of San Francisco to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Newsome’s opponent is former governor of California and current attorney general Jerry Brown.

Clinton has a history with Jerry Brown. He ran against Brown in 1992 for the Democratic presidential nomination. The tension between the two peaked during a debate in Chicago, when Brown accused Clinton of funneling “money to his wife’s law firm for state business.”

“I don’t care what you say about me, but you ought to be ashamed of yourself for jumping on my wife. You’re not worth being on the same platform as my wife,” Clinton said, shaking his finger at Brown.

Clinton’s support of Newsom’s campaign is also seen as returning a favor in a way. Newsom was a high-profile supporter of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s campaign during the presidential bid before she left the race.

Clinton’s support is expected to shore up poll numbers for Newsom’s slow-starting campaign for governor.

A recent Rasmussen Report poll conducted last week showed Brown leading all Republican candidates in early match-ups for the 2010 governor's race, including former eBay CEO Meg Whitman. Newsom, however, trailed the Republican hopefuls by single-digit margins.

Current California Governor Schwarzenegger cannnot run again due to term limits.