SACRAMENTO -- California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom says he will begin raising money to run for California governor in 2018.
In a written announcement Wednesday, the Democrat says he passionately believes "in the future of this great state."
The former mayor of San Francisco has been a controversial national figure since 2004 when he ordered the San Francisco city clerk in 2004 to ignore state law at the time and issue marriage licenses to gay couples.
Newsom has long wanted to be governor, and his announcement last month that he would not pursue a U.S. Senate seat created anticipation he would seek the state's top post.
He was re-elected to a second four-year term as lieutenant governor in November.
Newsom says that although California has reigned in its finances, the state has long-term challenges to create private-sector jobs and keep college affordable.