TRENTON - Gov. Corzine will endorse New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination on Monday, according to two people close to the campaign.
The governor will make the endorsement at Elizabeth City Hall, accompanied by U.S. Rep. Robert Andrews and other Democrats. Clinton is scheduled to attend the event.
The people confirming the announcement would not allow their names to be used so as not to upstage the governor.
A spokesman for Clinton's campaign said only that the Democratic senator would be in New Jersey on Monday for a major campaign announcement. Corzine spokesman Anthony Coley refused to comment.
Corzine's endorsement could prove key to Clinton because New Jersey plans to move its presidential primary to Feb. 5, grouping it with other states among the first holding presidential primaries next year.
Clinton and Corzine worked together in the U.S. Senate before Corzine left to become governor in 2006.
Hillary and Bill Clinton campaigned with Corzine during his run for governor in 2005.
A Quinnipiac University poll in February had Clinton with 41 percent of the vote in a New Jersey Democratic Party primary, compared with 19 percent for Illinois Sen. Barack Obama.
Peter Woolley, a Fairleigh Dickinson University political science professor and pollster, said the endorsement would reinforce Clinton's front-runner status.
"The endorsement is important to Clinton because the New Jersey primary is much sooner in the primary calendar than usual," Woolley said. "His endorsement is also important to Clinton because it means that this very big donor and key fund-raiser is not going to support Obama or [John] Edwards - her closest rivals, both of whom have recently done well with fund-raising."
Corzine, who became wealthy during his 24-year tenure at Wall Street investment firm Goldman Sachs, spent about $65 million of his own money to win the 2000 U.S. Senate election and about $40 million of his own money in the 2005 gubernatorial election. He has also contributed more than $8 million to other state and federal candidates and is a former chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.