Tuesday, April 12, 2005

The FAT Lady Sings in Los Angeles Mayors Race

Candidate Antonio Villaraigosa, center, with Earvin “Magic” Johnson and former Mayor Richard Riordan in Sherman Oaks, receives backing from the former basketball star.

Villaraigosa Leads Incumbent by 18 Points

The latest Los Angeles Times( free registration required) Poll has City Councilman Villaraigosa leading incumbent Mayor James Hahn:

Antonio Villaraigosa has opened an 18-point lead over incumbent James K. Hahn in the Los Angeles mayoral race, with nearly every large voting bloc supporting his effort to bounce Hahn from City Hall, according to a new Los Angeles Times Poll.

The survey shows that Hahn has yet to rebuild the historic coalition of south L.A. blacks and San Fernando Valley whites that thrust him into office four years ago. Both groups favor Villaraigosa by wide margins in the May 17 runoff.

The city councilman and former state Assembly speaker holds a double-digit lead over Hahn in every region of the city. He runs far ahead of the mayor among whites, blacks, Latinos, liberals, moderates, Democrats, Jewish voters and union members.

There are glimmers of hope for Hahn. Republicans -- roughly a quarter of the city's electorate -- strongly favor his re-election, as do conservatives. He is also receiving more credit for accomplishments now than in polls earlier in the campaign -- particularly for the drop in crime.

If the election were held today, the poll found, Villaraigosa would oust Hahn by a margin of 53 percent to 35 percent, with 12 percent undecided.

The survey reflects the tough battle that Hahn faces in the campaign's final weeks. Nearly two-thirds of likely voters say that Hahn's policies have left the city no better off, and that Los Angeles needs to change direction. That negative view of Hahn's tenure complicates his attempt to gain the traction needed to overtake Villaraigosa.

Read the rest here.

This is not the only set back for the Hahn campaign this week:

Magic Offers an Assist to Villaraigosa

Mayoral candidate Antonio Villaraigosa picked up one of the most sought-after endorsements in Los Angeles on Monday: Earvin "Magic" Johnson, who credited the city councilman with having the energy "to make things happen."

Johnson, who helped lead the Los Angeles Lakers to five championships and then became a successful businessman, said he believed Villaraigosa would have more success than Mayor James K. Hahn in bringing good jobs to Los Angeles.

"The city was not moving forward," said Johnson, who endorsed Hahn four years ago. "Where are the jobs?"

Johnson, joined by former Mayor Richard Riordan, announced his endorsement at a 24 Hour Fitness gym that he owns in Sherman Oaks in an event that seemed designed to appeal to the city's business community.

The basketball legend's celebrity and popularity could also help Villaraigosa, a city councilman, among black voters.
Read the rest here.

Less than a month to go and it appears there will be a change at L.A. City Hall.

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