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Kuehl Has Wide Lead over Shriver in Endorsements

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By Daniel Larios
Staff Writer

March 27, 2014 -- While former Santa Monica Mayor Bobby Shriver has overtaken Sheila Kuehl in fundraising, the former state senator remains far ahead when it comes to receiving endorsements from groups and organizations in the race for Los Angeles County Supervisor. 

Among the political organizations endorsing Kuehl, who has been campaigning since March 2013, are the L.A. County Democratic Party; Santa Monicans For Renters’ Rights (SMRR), the city’s powerful tenants group; Latino Democrats of Los Angeles County, and the Stonewall Democratic Club.

Kuehl also counts on the endorsement of nine trade unions, including the California Federation of Teachers, the National Union of Healthcare Workers and the California Nurses Association, which has donated $75,000 to her campaign.

“If organizations endorse you, it indicates to all their followers that they trust you,” Kuehl told The Lookout Wednesday. “When you send out mailers and they say 'The Only Candidate Endorsed By...' I think it means something to the electorate.

“Being the officially endorsed candidate, when everyone in the race is a Democrat is important, because it means that I am in line with the grassroots activists who decide on the platform of the party and are representative of the people," said Kuehl, who was elected in 1994 to the State Assembly.

Kuehl served as a State lawmaker, first in the Assembly and then as a State Senator, until she left office due to term limits in 2008.

"People are approving of my candidacy," she said.

Endorsements from political organizations not only lend credibility, they provide volunteers and much needed resources to a campaign, Kuehl said.

“In terms of the Democratic Party and local Democratic Clubs…if you get endorsed by them, they provide volunteers for your campaign,” Kuehl added.

So far, Shiver, who began running at the end of January, has won the endorsement of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union 13 and the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce.

“Endorsements have some influence, but its not the best way to evaluate a candidate,” said Bill Carrick, Shriver's chief campaign strategist, who has also worked on the campaigns of U.S. Senator Diane Feinstein, former L.A. mayor Richard Riordan and former president Bill Clinton, among others.

“But they are good to have,” he said.

Both Kuehl and Shriver has received support from former and current elected officials. 

Kuehl has won the support of many in the political establishment, including State Assembly speaker-elect Toni Atkins, U.S. Congresswoman Karen Bass, former L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, former L.A. City Councilmember Bill Rosendahl, State Representative Julia Brownley, Santa Monica Mayor Pam O’Connor and  State Senator Ted Lieu, who is in the race to replace U.S. Congressman Henry Waxman. 

“It's a long history of working together on issues that matter,” Kuehl said. “I've been fortunate for the last forty years to have worked with a number of people who have gone on to get elected to all these high levels of office.

“These are long relationships of working together on critical issues,” she said. “These relationships are important to the job of County Supervisor because there are a myriad of connections with the work of hundreds of non-profits, members of Congress, state legislators, activists, people actually doing something and doing it in concert with the County.”

So far, Shriver is counting on the support of more than 21 former and current politicians, including former L.A. Mayor Richard Riordan; L.A. County Supervisor Don Knabe, the only supervisor who has made an endorsement; former State Treasurer Kathleen Brown, and four current Santa Monica City Councilmembers.

A number of Shriver's supporters come from his years working in the private sector to raise money for numerous social causes.

With U2 frontman Bono, Shriver has worked to generate millions of dollars for AIDS relief in Africa. He also has worked with many in the music industry to raise money for the Special Olympics, an organization founded by his mother.

Also among his supporters is former L.A. County Supervisor Ed Edelman, who worked with Shriver while he was on the Santa Monica City Council to advocate for housing and services for the homeless, especially veterans.

Kuehl believes the endorsements of political officials are important.

“It signals to their own supporters, constituents and friends that this person is the best choice for the job,” Kuehl said. “It's a transfer of credibility. It's the same with community leaders.”

While Kuehl far outpaces Shriver in the number of endorsements, Shriver’s nearly 2,000 donors include international celebrities, such as Oprah Winfrey, Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg, Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffet. ("Shriver Raises $850,000 from Thousands of Donors for L.A. County Supervisor Bid," March 25, 2014)

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