The race to replace termed-out Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky refocused Thursday, with former City Controller Wendy Greuel deciding against a run and news emerging that former Santa Monica Mayor Bobby Shriver had filed papers to fundraise for a possible campaign.
“I just decided it’s not the right time for me,” Greuel said in an interview. “That does not mean I’m saying goodbye to the idea of running for office” in the future.
She said the proximity of the Los Angeles mayor’s race, which she lost to Eric Garcetti in May, factored into her decision.
“No pun intended, I went through a couple years of a grueling campaign,” said Greuel, a former city councilwoman who represented part of the San Fernando Valley.
Supporters had been urging her to run since the loss, and polling showed she would have significant advantages: high name identification and a favorable view among voters.
“With her name ID and Valley base, Wendy would have been the clear front-runner,” said Sean Clegg, a Democratic consultant who was advising Greuel on a possible run. “She's got a tremendous future and will have many, many opportunities going forward.”
Greuel debated through the holidays and into the new year whether to run, with her supporters planning to launch a campaign tied to the 20th anniversary of the Northridge earthquake. She was deeply involved in the recovery efforts as part of President Clinton’s Department of Housing and Urban Development. But on Thursday, she made the decision against running.
“I have decided to go with my gut and make significant contributions in other ways and come back again,” said Greuel, who is working as a consultant to a planned children’s museum in the Valley.
Her decision dramatically shapes the race to represent the 3rd District, which is home to 2 million people and stretches from the Pacific Ocean into the San Fernando Valley and to the Hollywood sign.
Former state lawmaker Sheila Kuehl has been running the longest and most public campaign for the seat, raising more than $425,000, rolling out scores of endorsements and aggressively courting Democratic Party activists.
Kuehl’s political consultant said Greuel’s decision was “good news” for Kuehl.
“Wendy would have been a formidable opponent. Sheila must now be considered the clear front-runner,” said political strategist Parke Skelton.
Former Santa Monica Mayor Bobby Shriver is widely believed to be planning a run, and filed papers last week that allow him to begin fundraising.
“Wendy Greuel has dedicated her life to public service. She would have been a serious candidate for supervisor,” Shriver said. “But I know that she will continue to contribute to L.A. and Los Angeles County in incredible ways.”
Shriver’s anticipated run is already creating waves in the contest -- the first election to be sparked by term limits instituted by voters -- because of his wealth, celebrity and anticipated fundraising ability.
On Thursday, Kuehl sent out a fundraising appeal to supporters about Shriver’s likely candidacy.
“We knew this was coming ... a candidate with millions of dollars to self-fund a campaign filed papers to run against me for L.A. County Supervisor,” she wrote. “A career of public service hasn't given me a vast personal fortune to spend on this race, but it has provided me with things that money just can’t buy: Years of experience fighting for progressive values in Los Angeles County and fighting for YOU!”
West Hollywood City Councilman John Duran and former Malibu Mayor Pamela Conley Ulich have also announced that they are running.
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