Bill Clinton backs AG Brown's potential opponent

Chris Rizo Sep. 15, 2009, 8:11pm

Jerry Brown (D)

SAN FRANCISCO (Legal Newsline)--Former U.S. President Bill Clinton plans to wade into the Democratic gubernatorial primary in California, opting to support the mayor of San Francisco.

In a highly unusual move, the former president is throwing his political muscle behind San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom in his bid to be the next governor of California, the Newsom camp has said.

Newsom is expected to be challenged for the Democratic nomination by state Attorney General Jerry Brown, who has not officially entered the 2010 race but who is widely considered the frontrunner.

Next month, Clinton is expected to headline at a fundraiser for Newsom in Los Angeles.

"President Clinton's record of achievement as president and as a senior statesman is inspiring to all Democrats. I am truly honored," Newsom said in a statement.

Clinton's decision to sign on to the Newsom campaign comes about 17 years after the former president and Brown were fierce competitors for the 1992 Democratic presidential nomination.

A Research 2000 poll last month commissioned by the Daily Kos showed that Brown led Newsom in the race for the Democratic nomination.

The poll shows that Brown leads Newsom by 9 points, 29 percent to 20 percent. A poll in June by J. Moore Methods showed that Brown, a former governor, led Newsom by 20 points.

The Research 2000 poll of 600 likely voters was taken Aug. 9-12. It has margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is unable to seek reelection because of term limits. Brown, who was California governor from 1975 to 1983, held office before the term limits law was enacted, thus allowing him to run again.

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