LOS ANGELES (CNS) – The two white candidates vying to be L.A.’s next mayor made a big play for the city’s black vote today, with Eric Garcetti receiving the endorsement of one-time mayoral candidate Jan Perry while Controller Wendy Greuel gets the backing of Earvin “Magic” Johnson.
The endorsement from Perry, one of the three black members of the 15- member City Council, was expected to be announced at an 11 a.m. news conference at the 28th St. YMCA.
An endorsement by Perry, who made a strong showing in South Los Angeles in the March 5 primary, has the potential to persuade her nearly 60,000 supporters to back Garcetti in the May 21 runoff against second-place finisher Wendy Greuel.
Perry came in first in the primary election, ahead of Garcetti and Greuel, in a broad swath of precincts in South Los Angeles, an area that includes many black and Latino communities.
Greuel also won an endorsement from a major figure in the city’s African American community today, when it was announced that Johnson, a basketball- legend-turned-entrepreneur, would join her on the steps of a church on Crenshaw Boulevard at 1 p.m. to say he backs her candidacy.
County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, on of the Southland’s most prominent black politicians, has previously endorsed Greuel and is scheduled to be there as well, along with LA Sentinel Publisher Danny Bakewell.
In the past two weeks, Garcetti, who has set up a campaign office in South Los Angeles to court voters there, picked up the endorsements of the Los Angeles African American Women Political Action Committee and the New Frontier Democratic Club, a predominantly women’s group with a long history in the black community.
Greuel’s campaign website features a long list of support from black leaders, including Ridley-Thomas. On the campaign trail, she frequently refers to her time working in the administration of the late Tom Bradley, to date L.A.’s only black mayor.
Perry’s endorsement would be the second for Garcetti from a former opponent. Emanuel Pleitez, who came in fifth in the primary, announced his backing for Garcetti earlier this month.
Third-place finisher Kevin James, who snagged more than 60,000 votes, mostly in the San Fernando Valley, met with Garcetti and Greuel two weeks ago but said he was dissatisfied with both of them.
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