Mayor Richard Riordan, a political maverick not shy about straying from his Republican Party, on Tuesday endorsed GOP candidate Randy Hoffman in a hotly contested congressional race that includes the Conejo Valley.
The Hoffman campaign's celebration was dampened, however, with news of the death of former Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley, which forced Riordan to miss the candidate's rally announcing the endorsement.
Despite coming on "this day of mourning in Los Angeles," the Thousand Oaks millionaire said he was honored to receive Riordan's endorsement for his race in the 24th Congressional District, which covers portions of eastern Ventura County and the western San Fernando Valley.
Hoffman told a crowd of about 60 loyal Republicans that both he and Riordan came from the business world, where they both learned the importance of accountability. Hoffman was the president of Magellan Systems, the high-tech San Dimas company that makes satellite navigation systems and turned him into a millionaire.
"He has made government in the city of Los Angeles more efficient; he has made it smarter," Hoffman said of the mayor at the Woodland Hills Hilton & Towers. "As a congressman, I am going to take the Richard Riordan leadership model to Washington, D.C."
In a written statement, Riordan praised Hoffman's experience in the business world, saying it would serve him well in Congress.
"Randy Hoffman has been a leader in the business community and shares the priority of a government that works for the people, not the other way around," Riordan's statement said.
Sherman's campaign manager, Peter Loge, dismissed the importance of Riordan's announcement, saying Hoffman and Riordan know little about one another's political territory. Riordan has never lived in the 24th Congressional District and Hoffman doesn't live in Riordan's city of Los Angeles, Loge said.
Also, Riordan's statement praising Hoffman did not include any criticism of Sherman's record in office.
Although Riordan is a Republican, he has in the past endorsed Democrats. Earlier this month, he backed state Assemblyman Scott Wildman (D-Los Angeles), whose district includes Glendale and Burbank. Riordan's endorsement came after a disclosure that Wildman's Republican opponent, police officer Peter Repovich, had been suspended twice for misconduct.
Riordan has also endorsed Democrat City Councilman Richard Alarcon's bid for state Senate in the 20th District. Riordan sponsored a fund-raiser for Alarcon before the Democratic primary that raised more than $80,000.
Along with Riordan's nod, Hoffman also hopes to boost his campaign with visits from Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Vice President Dan Quayle in October.
But Hoffman made a point of distancing himself from the right-wing politics of Gingrich and Quayle, saying their visits were merely a showing of GOP muscle to help him get elected.
"Whether we agree or not on every issue is irrelevant," Hoffman said, who stresses he is pro-abortion rights and favors the ban on assault weapons. "Their goal is to look for congressional seats where there is a "D" and change it to an "R."