The San Francisco Sentinel reports that former Santa Monica state assemblywoman Sheila Kuehl is supporting 2010 gubernatorial candidate Gavin Newsom. The Sentinel cited a Newsom campaign announcement made today. The backing of Kuehl, a prominent lesbian in state politics, gives the San Francisco mayor a high-profile boost from the gay community and comes on the heels of Tuesday's endorsement of Newsom by former president Bill Clinton.

Newsom has been lagging behind presumed candidate Jerry Brown, the current attorney general, in preliminary polling and in fundraising statements that show Brown with a no-nonsense lead of $7.4 million to $1.2 million. However, Clinton is scheduled to use his Midas touch for Newsom's benefit in a fundraising effort next month. Newsom seems to be planning his endorsements and appointments carefully. Kuehl's support reminds gay voters of Newsom's gay-marriage credentials. (In 2004 he inaugurated a short-lived wave of same-sex marriages in San Francisco, and last year was a strong opponent of Proposition 8, the anti-gay-marriage ballot initiative that won at the polls.)

Also, by having named San Fernando Valley state senator Alex Padilla as

his state chair, Newsom is trying to tap into both the Southland Latino

and union votes — traditionally, two Brown strengths. And, with Bill Clinton, Newsom may be be

counting on the former president's endorsement to allay the mistrust of California

heartland Democrats, many of whom who see Newsom as a radical San

Francisco character, while viewing the 71-year-old Brown, a former

two-term governor, as a known quantity who can be tough on crime.

Fasten your seat belts, as they say, the campaign ahead will be long

and bumpy.

Advertising disclosure: We may receive compensation for some of the links in our stories. Thank you for supporting LA Weekly and our advertisers.