L.A. County labor federation picks its candidates
The influential Los Angeles County Federation of Labor on Tuesday announced its endorsements in this year's congressional and legislative elections--support that can be crucial in hotly contested races.
The AFL-CIO-affiliated federation, the second-largest in the country, represents more than 300 local unions. It has several avenues for helping its endorsed candidates, including communicating its choices to members, spending money independently to support or oppose candidates and providing volunteers to walk precincts and call voters.
Several of this year's congressional and legislative races are featuring intraparty fights in strongly Democratic districts, where the federation's backing is likely to count most. The endorsements include one for Rep. Janice Hahn (D-San Pedro), who is competing with Rep. Laura Richardson (D-Long Beach) for a newly drawn House seat.
But in the area's hottest congressional race to date--in which Democratic Reps. Brad Sherman and Howard L. Berman are vying for a newly drawn district in the San Fernando Valley--the federation could not agree on a candidate.
Among the several Assembly races with at least two Democratic contenders, the federation endorsed the following candidates:
Richard Alarcon for AD 39, Adrin Nazarian for AD 46, Betsy Butler for AD 50, Jimmy Gomez for AD 51, Reginald Jones-Sawyer for AD 59 and Anthony Rendon for AD 63.
Candidates seeking an endorsement were required to pass muster with three separate federation groups.
"We expect politicians to stand up for working men and women across Los Angeles County," Maria Elena Durazo, the federation's top executive, said in a statement announcing the endorsements.
Under the state's new elections system, at least some of these intraparty fights are likely to last into the fall because the top two finishers in the June primary will advance to the general election, not the top finisher from each party, as before. In addition, candidates are running in new districts, drawn for the first time by an independent citizens commission without regard to party registration or incumbents' homes.
The federation has also made endorsements in several upcoming races for local offices.
Photo: Rep. Janice Hahn, right, won the county Federation of Labor endorsement over Rep. Laura Richardson. Credit: Associated Press, Los Angeles Times