A group of prominent African American leaders endorsed former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa for governor Thursday, boosting a crucial demographic to the Democratic candidates voting bloc.
“We need someone who … can empathize with our community, that’s not afraid to walk our streets, who understands our issues,” Compton Mayor Aja Brown said, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Villaraigosa reportedly thanked the community for helping boost him to victory as mayor of Los Angeles saying, “This community opened up the door for me. I never would have been mayor of Los Angeles if in 2005 we hadn’t had an outpouring of support here.”
Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson reportedly said, “Antonio realizes governing is not about doing what you want to do. Governing is about doing what you have to do.” He added, “It’s important for us to ensure we have an individual in Sacramento that’s not afraid to lead, and I submit to each and every one of you that person is Antonio Villaraigosa.”
Elected officials from Los Angeles, Compton, Inglewood and Carson, from the First African Methodist Episcopal Church, and the Nation of Islam which is led by Louis Farrakhan, were also present.
Villaraigosa also received the endorsement of the state Legislature’s California Latino Caucus in September.
Others took the opportunity to criticize Democratic frontrunner Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom.
Newsom has enjoyed support from the California Nurses Association, who have endorsed him in every one of his campaigns.
Businessman John Cox and Assemblyman Travis Allen (R-Huntington Beach), the top Republicans in the Democrat-heavy field of candidates, are either in second place or within striking distance of it. If either of them beats Villaraigosa in the June 5 primary, he could proceed to the general election in November.