Barack Obama Endorses Mayor Eric Garcetti for Re-election in L.A.

Former President Barack Obama has emerged from semi-retirement to endorse Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti for a second term.

“I strongly endorse Eric Garcetti for a second term as mayor of Los Angeles,” Obama said in a written statement released Tuesday by the mayor’s re-election campaign, according to local CBS affiliate in Los Angeles.

“As mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti has delivered by raising the minimum wage, creating jobs and expanding economic opportunity.” He added, “Eric led the campaign to pass the largest transportation infrastructure measure in our nation’s history. Eric is my friend, a loyal ally and a great and visionary mayor of Los Angeles.”

Garcetti thanked Obama for his endorsement, reportedly saying, “Thank you, President Obama, for your service to this country. Thank you for your support of me in this campaign and thank you for setting the bar for what public service is about for all of us.”

Local primary elections will take place across Los Angeles County on March 7. Garcetti is on the ballot, along with 10 of his other challengers. In addition to the mayoral race, eight city council seats, city attorney, and city controller seats are up for election. According to Ballotpedia, City Attorney Mike Feuer, City Controller Ron Galperin, and District 3 Councilman Bob Blumenfield are running for re-election unopposed.

While the mayor’s race is a crowded field, Garcetti seems to face only one slight challenge from Mitchell Schwartz, who directed Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign in California and served as communications director for the State Department under President Bill Clinton.

Last month, Joe Biden attended a fundraiser in Beverly Hills to support Garcetti’s reelection campaign.

Garcetti has also been raising campaign funds outside of California, in Washington, D.C. and New York. In January, he held three fundraising events before and after an official three-day U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting held in Washington, D.C.

He was expected to raise approximately $100,000 during that trip.

According to Southern California Public Radio, Garcetti’s campaign raised nearly $2.8 million by the end of 2016 compared to Schwartz, who has raised about $336,000 thus far.

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