PolitiCal

On politics in the Golden State

Category: Richard J. Riordan

Rep. Henry Waxman gets President Obama's endorsement

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President Obama has endorsed longtime Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Beverly Hills), the Waxman campaign announced Tuesday.

Waxman is seeking reelection in the newly drawn 33rd Congressional District and is challenged by a well financed nonpartisan candidate, businessman and former Republican Bill Bloomfield of Manhattan Beach.

"Henry Waxman has always fought for what is right and in the best interests of California and our nation," Obama said in a statement.  He cited Waxman's work on environmental protection, his efforts to fight government waste and abuse and his leadership on health care legislation.

A member of the House for nearly four decades, Waxman previously chaired the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and the Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

Bloomfield's supporters include former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan.

The largely affluent district includes Beverly Hills and Malibu and runs south along the coast through the Palos Verdes Peninsula. Registered Democrats outnumber Republicans by 44%-28% in the district while 22% of voters are not affiliated with any political party.

Bloomfield spent almost $1.4 million to come in second in the eight-way primary, earning 25% of the vote.  Waxman spent about $557,000 and finished first with 45%.

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-- Jean Merl

Photo: President Obama steps off Marine One last month in Aurora, Colo. Credit: Pablo Martinez Monsivais / Associated Press

Richard Riordan launches effort to court Latinos for GOP

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Former Los Angeles Mayor Richard J. Riordan’s political moderation and penchant for reaching across party lines hasn’t always sat well with many of his fellow California Republicans. They’ve long derided him as a "RINO" (Republican In Name Only) and soundly rejected him for a more conservative pol when he ran for the GOP nomination for governor in 2002.

Now the wealthy businessman and philanthropist is playing the maverick again. He’s launched a campaign aimed at coaxing Latinos into the Republican fold — and he’s doing it without the state party's involvement.

On Memorial Day, Riordan launched a radio ad campaign  under the auspices of Republicans Rebuilding California, a new political action committee he funded. The PAC will neither support specific candidates nor work with the party but is asking Latinos to consider “the Republican values: jobs, education and safety.”

Riordan has spent $43,000 on ads on bilingual and Spanish-language radio stations in areas where Republicans are in competitive races and there are large Spanish-speaking populations. They include Riverside, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties and the Central Valley communities of Modesto, Stockton and Bakersfield, according to a spokeswoman for the new organization.

When he won a second term as L.A. mayor in 1997, Riordan received 60% of the Latino vote in the heavily Democratic city, leading him to believe there is hope for Republicans with this ethnic group.

The Spanish-language ads were read by college senior Ericka Maldonado, daughter of former Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado, and stockbroker Marilyn Salvador, whose grandparents emigrated from Mexico and worked picking crops in Northern California. 

Riordan is featured in the English version.

“As a Republican, I believe government should bring us jobs, keep us safe and educate our children,”  he said before urging listeners to exercise their right to vote.

California Latinos have been strongly backing Democratic candidates for years and Republican leaders have tried without much success to woo the fast-growing voter group.

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--Jean Merl

Photo: Former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan at an event with charter school parents and teachers last year. Credit: Bret Hartman / For The Times

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