On Wednesday, the state Legislature’s California Latino Caucus endorsed 2018 gubernatorial candidate and former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
The endorsement, while expected, will help Villaraigosa in what is beginning to look like a tight race. However, the nod is not yet enough to take Villaraigosa past Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, who is seen as the frontrunner.
“The Latino Caucus is proud to endorse Antonio Villaraigosa for Governor,” Sen. Ben Hueso (D-San Diego), chair of the caucus, said in a statement, according to the Liberal OC. “As Assembly speaker and Los Angeles mayor, Antonio Villaraigosa worked to strengthen our economy, expand our healthcare, improve our schools and invest in strategic infrastructure projects that create middle-class jobs. He understands the struggles and challenges of working families and will represent all of the people of the Golden State wherever they live.”
“As a former member of the Latino Caucus, it is truly humbling to earn their endorsement,” Villaraigosa said. “As Governor, my number one priority will be to create more economic opportunity and greater economic equality throughout California.”
The Los Angeles Times notes that other Latino Democrats who have received the Legislature’s California Latino Caucus’s endorsement include Sen. Ed Hernandez (D-Azusa) for lieutenant governor, Xavier Becerra for attorney general, incumbent Alex Padilla for secretary of state, Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) for insurance commissioner, and Assemblyman Tony Thurmond (D-Richmond) for superintendent of public instruction.
Last month, a poll released by UC Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies showed Newsom leading the 2018 governor’s race with 26 percent of support among likely voters. This is a four-point improvement from May.
That same poll had Villaraigosa in second place with 10 percent, down seven points since the previous poll.
According to the poll, Republican San Diego businessman John Cox was favored by 11 percent of likely voters and Orange County Assemblyman Travis Allen (R-Huntington Beach) by 9 percent.
Democrat Treasurer John Chiang, endorsed by Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA), and former state schools superintendent Delaine Eastin, are also in the running as is Republican San Diego businessman John Cox and Orange County Assemblyman Travis Allen (R-Huntington Beach).
At least one-third of likely voters are reportedly still undecided as to who they will vote for.