When then-gubernatorial candidate Gavin Newsom in September dropped the news that President Bill Clinton was endorsing him, local political analysts told SF Weekly “this doesn't suck!” And yet, within a month and a half, larger problems led to Newsom abandoning the race. Politicos told us the big splash of the Clinton announcement was a desperation move made to bolster Newsom's flagging campaign and, ideally, it would have come months later to accentuate a thriving campaign.
Well, that was then and this is now. Yesterday's public endorsement of Newsom for lieutenant governor by Sen. Dianne Feinstein also doesn't suck — it gives Newsom a lot of what he needs politically and at a crucial time with the state's Democratic Party Convention coming up later this month.
Feinstein “is the most beloved politician in the state and the party. She probably has the best brand ID among California Democrats,” said professor Barbara O'Connor, the director of Sacramento State's Institute for the Study of Politics and Media. “And it doesn't hurt to have the senior senator, a female, saying he' a feminist.”
That gets to the heart of what a Feinstein endorsement — no surprise by the way; she used to be mayor here, too — does for Newsom. It helps him out statewide, while his name recognition flags outside the Bay Area. It also gives him a boost in a race against a female opponent, Janice Hahn.