Sheriff, TV stars, grassroots group endorse in races
First came word that “taxpayer advocate/businessman Phil Liberatore, as he’s described on the ballot, has scored the backing of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, an Arizona lawman who gained national notice for his tough immigration stance. Liberatore is one of 13 candidates on the ballot for the open seat in the High Desert’s 8th District, the most crowded field of any California congressional race this spring. Arpaio’s endorsement could help set Liberatore apart from the pack of nine other Republicans, two Democrats and one independent (former GOP Assemblyman Anthony Adams). The sheriff will appear Friday at a news conference with Liberatore—in Beverly Hills.
Next, Democratic state Sen. Julia Brownley announced an endorsement from the progressive group MoveOn.org in her race for another open seat, the 26th Congressional District in Ventura County. The national grassroots organizing group said it has some 14,800 members in the district, where five other candidates also are on the ballot. Both major parties have targeted the race.
But it would be hard to top the popular appeal of one of the backers Rep. Howard Berman added to his list earlier this week—television star and animal rights activist Betty White. Berman is locked in an intense, expensive battle with fellow Democratic Rep. Brad Sherman for the same San Fernando Valley seat. Five others also are on the ballot in the strongly Democratic 30th District but most of the attention in the nationally watched race is on Berman and Sherman.
Camp Berman wasted no time in making a TV commercial featuring White and one of her “Hot in Cleveland” co-stars, Wendie Malick. In the ad, Malick says the congressman is “unbelievably effective” while White comments on his “very nice blue eyes.”
Photo: Actress Betty White at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books last month. Credit: Genaro Molina/Los Angeles Times