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Candidates in L.A. Council runoff pick up key endorsements

November 18, 2011 |  1:14 pm

As the Jan. 17 runoff contest to replace Janice Hahn on the Los Angeles City Council heats up, several South Bay politicians are weighing in.

On Thursday, Los Angeles City Atty. Carmen Trutanich endorsed Joe Buscaino, a Los Angeles Police Department officer with no political experience. Both Trutanich and Buscaino are natives of San Pedro, the port neighborhood seen by many as the political center of the 15th District, which also includes Harbor City, Wilmington and Watts.

"As a local Pedro boy myself, I'm proud to strongly endorse the Pedro candidate in this race," Trutanich said in a statement. He praised Buscaino as "fresh blood," and said he trusts "that he'll do everything he can to prevent any further public safety cuts."

Buscaino's opponent, State Assemblyman Warren Furutani (D-Gardena), also picked up a key San Pedro endorsement earlier this week when the assemblywoman who represents the neighborhood threw her support behind his campaign.

In a statement sent to Furutani supporters, Bonnie Lowenthal (D-Long Beach) called him "a fighter for the communities he represents," and praised his efforts to help secure state funds to rebuild a bridge in the Port of Long Beach. Furutani was born in San Pedro but now lives in the Harbor Gateway area, a skinny strip that runs along the 110 Freeway that connects the Port of Los Angeles with the rest of the city. Furutani already represents about a third of the district in the Legislature.

Also on Friday, Furutani won endorsements from two major labor unions, the California Nurses Assn. and the United Farm Workers of America. 

The nurses union had endorsed firefighter Pat McOsker in the general election on Nov. 8. McOsker finished fourth in that race. Buscaino and Furutani won spots in the runoff after capturing 27.1% and 22.3% of the vote, respectively.

Nearly $2 million was spent in the first round of the race, which kicked off this summer after Hahn was elected to Congress.

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-- Kate Linthicum at Los Angeles City Hall
Twitter.com/@katelinthicum

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