With his campaign for governor off to a sluggish start, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom enlisted President Bill Clinton on Monday to help him raise political funds and the visibility of his candidacy.
Candidates carefully plan the moment to roll out their marquee supporters, but it was unusual to see a figure of Clinton’s stature on the campaign trail nine months before the June primary, when few voters are paying attention. Early polls and fundraising totals show Newsom lagging behind another potential Democratic rival, Attorney General Jerry Brown, the former two-term governor.
The former president and the mayor known for his support of same-sex marriage visited classrooms at Los Angeles City College before attending a private fundraiser, where tickets were priced up to $50,000.
Clinton’s blessing, announced weeks earlier, was not surprising. Last year, Newsom supported then-Sen. Hillary Clinton’s White House bid before she abandoned it.
Newsom and Clinton appeared together at a school library, where the former president embarked on a long discussion of green jobs and the economy before turning his attention to Newsom. He said the mayor “walked the walk” by making San Francisco one of the greenest cities in the nation.
Last week, Brown took a first step toward a gubernatorial bid, filing paperwork to form an exploratory committee.
The filing allows Brown to collect up to $25,900 from individual donors for his potential Democratic gubernatorial bid. In July, he reported having nearly $7.4 million in the bank. Newsom reported $1.2 million.