The surprise entry of Assemblyman Tony Cardenas (D-Sylmar) into the Los Angeles City Council's 2nd District race caused its first casualty Monday, when council aide Mark Dierking announced he was dropping out of the contest.
Dierking is an aide to council President Alex Padilla, a close political ally of Cardenas, and is the husband of Los Angeles Board of Education President Caprice Young.
With Councilman Joel Wachs quitting Oct. 1 to take a job in New York, Dierking had started looking for an apartment to move into in the 2nd District to qualify as a candidate for the seat.
"After giving it a lot of thought, I concluded that Tony Cardenas shares a lot of my same beliefs about putting parks and other opportunities for children first as a priority in the Valley," Dierking said. "I'm going to let him take charge in the race, and I'm going to back out and offer him my support."
Cardenas, who is being forced by term limits to give up his Assembly seat next year, had already sewn up the endorsement of Dierking's boss, Padilla. He announced his entry into the City Council race last week.
The City Clerk has proposed a Dec. 11 election to fill the vacancy, although the City Council has not yet approved that date. The person elected would serve the remainder of Wachs' term, which expires in 2003.