Rep. Anthony C. Beilenson, accused by his Democratic primary challenger of failing to fight for the interests of key groups, has been endorsed for reelection in the 23rd Congressional District by representatives of several of those constituencies.
In his bid for an upset in the June 7 Democratic primary, West Hollywood businessman Val Marmillion has charged that Beilenson is not a strong enough advocate for organized labor, environmental protection, other interest groups and the progressive Democratic agenda.
A number of groups representing these interests apparently disagree.
"You have demonstrated a true commitment to environmental protection," Sierra Club President Lawrence D. Downing wrote to Beilenson, a Tarzana Democrat. "We are confident of your continuing support for legislation to conserve our nation's resources."
The Committee on Political Education of the California Labor Federation, AFL-CIO, also endorsed Beilenson and plans to inform all of its members in the district, Executive Secretary-Treasurer John F. Henning said in a letter to the incumbent.
Beilenson has also received the support of the National Education Assn., the California Teachers Assn., the United Teachers of Los Angeles and the United Transportation Union. The liberal Americans for Democratic Action has endorsed him as well.
In addition, he has the backing of various local Democratic Clubs, including the Democratic Party of the San Fernando Valley. He has been endorsed by the Democratic clubs of Beverly Hills, Pacific Palisades, Malibu and West Hollywood.
Beilenson, however, will not benefit from any financial support from these groups because he refuses to take any special-interest contributions from political action committees.
Marmillion, meanwhile, has won the backing of the Los Angeles National Organization for Women political action committee. But the nationwide leadership of NOW, which must approve a formal endorsement and any campaign contributions, will not meet again until after the primary.
The Los Angeles NOW chapter recommended Marmillion's endorsement because "he is very much a feminist who is committed to take a leadership role on issues that we are very much concerned about--pay equity, child care, the equal rights amendment and abortion rights," said Kathy Spillar, president of the Los Angeles chapter of NOW.
She said Beilenson has generally supported NOW's positions but has done so reluctantly at times and without playing a leadership role.