SOUTHLAND : Bush Endorses Wilson for Governor

From Times staff and wire service reports

President Bush endorsed the candidacy of Republican Sen. Pete Wilson for governor of California today in a move that appeared to be designed to head off the potential campaign of former baseball Commissioner Peter V. Ueberroth.

Wilson told reporters after a White House meeting with Bush that the President had honored him with the "useful" endorsement privately. When asked if Bush would campaign for him, Wilson replied, "I hope he will. I expect he will."

Wilson rejected suggestions that the endorsement was premature, conceding it came "a little early" but arguing it was in the tradition of former President Ronald Reagan, who served two terms as California's governor. Ueberroth, who stepped down this spring after five years at the helm of professional baseball, is said to be toying with the idea of seeking the GOP nomination over Wilson.

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