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Ridley-Thomas endorsement could help Greuel in a low-turnout vote

March 24, 2013|By Jack Dolan
  • Mayoral candidate Wendy Greuel and Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas talk to the press Sunday night.
Mayoral candidate Wendy Greuel and Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark… (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles…)

Los Angeles mayoral candidate Wendy Greuel stood on the lawn of Grand Park in downtown Sunday evening to announce her endorsement by L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, whose African American constituency is a coveted voting bloc in the May runoff election with City Councilman Eric Garcetti.

It was Greuel’s first appearance since a dramatic shake-up in her campaign staff late last week. She hired a new manager and four people resigned, leaving observers to wonder if the change of horses midstream indicated a lack of confidence.

“We’re not changing horses, we’re just bringing in additional resources,” Greuel said Sunday. Pressed about the departures, Greuel said, “I’m not talking about personnel issues.”

The endorsement from Ridley-Thomas could help Greuel with African American voters, who constitute a relatively small percentage of the city’s population but who, along with white conservatives in the San Fernando valley, are viewed as potential swing votes.

“This is one of the biggest endorsements that I am receiving,” the controller said.

Ridley-Thomas’ supporters could be especially pivotal in a low-turnout election. On Sunday, Greuel lamented the 16% turnout of registered voters during the March primary.

After praising Greuel’s work ethic and “commitment to quality of life for all the people of Los Angeles,” Ridley-Thomas helped her fend off questions about the disruptions in her campaign staff.

He said it was typical for campaigns to reorganize when they shift from a primary election to a runoff.

Asked if Greuel had made missteps, Ridley-Thomas said all campaigns have “some days that are better than other days.”

“What you hope for by the time it's done is that you've had more good days than bad days,” he said. “In this business, it’s simply unheard of that every day is a good day.”

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jack.dolan@latimes.com

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