West Hollywood City Council member John Duran, who finished third in the June primary for Los Angeles County Supervisor, formally endorsed second-place finisher Bobby Shriver on Tuesday.
At a Shriver news conference, Duran said some in the gay and lesbian community had expressed disappointment that he — an openly gay man and civil rights lawyer — did not back first-place finisher Sheila Kuehl, a lesbian and LGBT pioneer in California's Legislature.
Duran responded that Shriver's views were closer to his more conservative business philosophy, and that he didn't want to give his endorsement based on race, gender or sexual identity.
"I firmly believe that those who demand equality have to extend equality," Duran said.
Shriver and Kuehl will face each other in the Nov. 4 general election. Both actively courted an endorsement from Duran, who received 16% of the vote in a field of eight candidates.
Shriver, a member of the Kennedy political clan, and a former Santa Monica City Council member and mayor, finished seven percentage points behind Kuehl, who received 36% of the vote.
Shriver said he got to know Duran during the primary campaign as someone who was "passionate about getting problems solved." He also noted that he and Duran both served in local government, as opposed to Sacramento. All of Kuehl's political experience is as a state lawmaker.
Shriver added that he and Duran agree L.A. and other cities' efforts to boost the economy should not wait for solutions to "come down magically from Sacramento."
In a separate interview with The Times, Kuehl said that although she would have preferred to get Duran's endorsement, she doesn't see it as affecting her chances of winning in November. An analysis of primary voter turnout shows she carried some 75% of voting precincts, including West Hollywood, which Duran has represented for 14 years.
Kuehl noted that since the primary she's been endorsed by Los Angeles Controller Ron Galperin, City Atty. Mike Feuer and U.S. Rep. Brad Sherman, who represents much of the San Fernando Valley portion of Zev Yaroslavsky's third district, which Kuehl and Shriver are vying for.
During her years in Sacramento, Kuehl wrote a number of groundbreaking laws, including one that barred discrimination against school staff and students on the basis of sexual orientation, and she was the first openly gay elected member in the Legislature. In West Hollywood, the former child actress also hosted a cable TV show called "Get Used To It" for 18 years.
Considering those credentials, former West Hollywood City Council member Steve Martin said, Duran would have "hell to pay" in the gay and lesbian community for turning his back on Kuehl.
"With Sheila we can have it both ways — an exceptional candidate and someone who's from our community,'' said Martin, an attorney and former president of the Stonewall Democratic Club, a powerful gay-rights advocacy group.
"I don't mean to disparage Bobby Shriver, but his resume is pretty thin compared to Sheila Kuehl's," Martin added.
In his remarks Tuesday, Duran said Shriver's eight years on the Santa Monica City Council was the deciding factor in backing him. Shriver is also an attorney, record producer and philanthropist who has raised millions to fight poverty and AIDS in Africa.
"Sheila has been a great legislator," Duran said. "But it's time for new ideas, fresh ideas, local government ideas and not a retread of Sacramento ideas."
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