Garcetti picks up supporters in key demographics

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Los Angeles mayoral candidate Eric Garcetti picked up support from a prominent Republican leader and an influential African American Democratic club on Wednesday.

The endorsements from Playa Vista developer Steve Soboroff and the New Frontier Democratic Club could help Garcetti make inroads with two groups he and his opponent Wendy Greuel are battling over: white GOP voters and black Democrats. Those constituencies voted overwhelmingly in the primary for loosing candidates Kevin James, a Republican, and Los Angeles City Councilwoman Jan Perry, a Democrat who is African American.

Neither Perry nor James have announced whether they will endorse in the runoff, although the actions of several Perry backers on Tuesday suggested she may be close to backing Garcetti. Several members of Perry’s campaign and council staff showed up at the New Frontier endorsement meeting Tuesday night sporting Garcetti buttons, including Perry’s campaign spokeswoman, Helen Sanchez.

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Sanchez said Perry told her staff ‘they were free to do whatever they want in the election,” and said Perry was still “mulling” an endorsement.

The club, which backed Perry in the primary, voted 71 to 22 to back Garcetti. Greuel’s attacks on Perry’s past financial problems -- she and her then-husband filed jointly for bankruptcy in 1994 -- may have played into the overwhelming vote for Garcetti. On each seat at the meeting, there was a copy of a letter from the California National Organization of Women blasting Greuel for highlighting Perry’s bankruptcy.

Meanwhile, Garcetti and Greuel have been courting James. Garcetti shared dinner with the former candidate two weeks ago and on Friday, Greuel met with him and former Mayor Richard Riordan to talk about an endorsement on Friday, according to Riordan, who said after the meeting that he had not decided whether to back Greuel.

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A Republican who has pushed to scale back pension benefits for city employees, Riordan’s endorsement could help Greuel among conservative voters. But her endorsement by city employee unions that have fought Riordan’s proposals -- and her backing this week from the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor -- could complicate that.

Garcetti’s team hopes Soboroff’s support will help them earn San Fernando Valley votes. Soboroff, who lost a bid for mayor in the primary in 2001 despite broad support among voters in the Valley, recorded a video for Garcetti. In a news release, he asks his supporters to vote for Garcetti, whom he said would bring services to “both sides of the hill.”


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