Antonovich ‘outraged’ by Kevin James endorsement email
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County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich blasted as ‘outrageous’ a letter distributed by Los Angeles mayoral candidate Kevin James that made it appear that the supervisor was endorsing James over his opponents in Tuesday’s primary election.
Antonovich said Monday he had nothing to do with the letter and was incensed that it used what he considered inflammatory language. The James campaign said it was inadvertently sent by email to ‘hundreds’ of James’ supporters and campaign volunteers.
‘The letter contains comments I have never said in support of his campaign,’’ Antonovich said in a statement condemning the release. ‘While I prefer Kevin James or Jan Perry for mayor, I would have never sent a letter using such negative rhetoric.’
The email blast bears the James campaign logo and appears to be signed by Antonovich. It asks readers to make a last-minute donation to help the James campaign get his pro-business, anti-union message out in the final hours of the race.
It goes on to say that recent polls show the race tightening and that James has a chance to make it to the runoff and that ‘even though political insiders and union bosses have spent millions to silence Kevin, he’s still in this thing because of the intensity and conviction of his supporters.’
Antonovich’s spokesman, Tony Bell, said his boss would never has sent a letter using such ‘negative rhetoric.’ Antonovich is demanding that the letter be rescinded, Bell said.
Antonovich last week did appear at a campaign event with James and has given dual endorsements to James and Perry, a city councilwoman who is also running for mayor. But that doesn’t mean the James campaign was free to send out a letter with the supervisor’s name, Bell said.
‘This was completely unknown to us,’’ he said. ‘The language was not something the supervisor had ever seen before.’
Jeff Corless, a James campaign strategist, said the email was sent in error and that he had personally called the supervisor’s office to apologize. ‘We have a flurry of emails going on in the final days, and the wrong version was sent out at the wrong time,’’ he said.
Corless said he and Antonovich’s staff were still working out details of whether a retraction was necessary.
-- Catherine Saillant