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Labor Leaders, Conservationists Endorse in L.A. County Supervisor Race

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By Jason Islas
Lookout reporter

April 16, 2014 -- With less than two months to go before the June 3 primary, the race to become L.A. County’s 3rd District Supervisor is heating up as candidates rack up major last-minute endorsements.

Former Santa Monica Mayor Bobby Shriver announced Tuesday that United Farmworkers Union co-founder Dolores Huerta has backed his bid, while his rival, former State lawmaker Sheila Kuehl, announced that she’d won the backing of the Sierra Club, one of the nation’s largest environmental groups.

Shriver, a lawyer, also announced Tuesday that the Mexican American Bar Association PAC has backed him in the heated race to replace Zev Yaroslavsky, who will step-down from the five-person L.A. County Board of Supervisors in December after 20 years due to term limits.

Huerta, who supported Shriver’s uncle, Robert Kennedy, in his 1968 presidential campaign, called Shriver “a man of great integrity” who has “done a great job of keeping his family’s legacy intact.”

Since Shriver announced his bid in January, he has gained the support of a wide coalition of leaders and organizations, including four Santa Monica City Council members, the L.A. County Young Democrats, the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, several Los Angeles City Council members and L.A. County Supervisor Don Knabe, the only sitting supervisor to endorse in the race so far.

Still, Kuehl, who announced her bid in March 2013, has a much longer list of endorsements than any of the seven candidates, all of whom entered the race later. (“Kuehl Has Wide Lead over Shriver in Endorsements,” March 27, 2014)

Other than the Sierra Club, her list includes three Santa Monica City Council members -- Mayor Pam O’Connor among them -- the L.A. County Democratic Club, U.S. Congressmembers Julia Brownley and Karen Bass, the region’s hospitality workers’ union, the California Nurses Association and many others.

West Hollywood Councilmember John Duran, who has positioned himself as a fiscal moderate, has the backing of State Senator Ricardo Lara, former State Assemblymember Betsy Butler and Democrats for Israel, among others.

Former Malibu Mayor Pamel Conely Ulich told The Lookout Tuesday that her campaign -- Team Love L.A. -- has opted to take the path “less traveled by.”

“Nearly all politicians rely on two things, money from special interests and endorsements from entrenched politicians and political dynasties,” she said. “This is not the path of Team Love.”
Endorsements are important indicators of which leaders and organizations trust which candidates, Kuehl told The Lookout in March.

But with nearly two million people living in L.A. County’s 3rd District -- which includes Santa Monica, Malibu, West L.A. and parts of the Valley -- the amount of money a candidate raises to get their message out could prove decisive.

According to campaign finance disclosure forms filed with the County last month, Shriver and Kuehl have raised the most money in the race so far.

Shriver had raised about $850,000 from late February to late March, including a $300,000 donation to his own campaign.

Because Shriver was the only candidate who opted not to accept the County’s voluntary $1.4 million spending limit, he has been limited to collecting donations capped at $300 each.

Kuehl and the other candidates had been able to accept donations of as much as $1,500 each because they accepted the spending limit. However, since Shriver announced he would donate to his own campaign, Kuehl and the others no longer have to abide by the $1,500 cap on donations. (“Shriver Donates $300,000 to his Bid for L.A. County Supervisor,” March 17, 2014)

As of the March filing date, Kuehl had raised about $800,000, including a $75,000 donation from the California Nurses Association.

Duran told The Lookout Tuesday that, to date, he has raised $250,000 while Ulich had raised about $50,000 as of the March filing.

All candidates will square off on the June 3 ballot, but only the top two vote-getters will make the November ballot.

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