Nice catch for Hillary… She has won the endorsement of Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Villaraigosa is considered to be one of the most influential and powerful Democrats in California and among the top “most influential Hispanics in the nation.”
With the endorsement, which is to be announced today in Los Angeles, Mrs. Clinton has outflanked her Democratic presidential rivals — including Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico, the first Hispanic to seek the party’s nomination — in a crucial primary state with a large number of Hispanic voters and Democratic convention delegates.
In a telephone interview yesterday, Mr. Villaraigosa described a lengthy courtship by both Clintons, starting with a phone call from Mrs. Clinton on the January morning when she announced her presidential candidacy.
The mayor also recalled conversations with her at his Los Angeles home and at his office; two private dinners in Washington; and several phone conversations. He also said that he spoke with Mr. Clinton for 45 minutes about an endorsement, and that he and the former president were working together on a project to reduce global warming. The two men also had dinner at the Kobe Club in Manhattan this month, he said.
“From that first morning, I talked to her and heard from her more than any other candidate in the race,” said Mr. Villaraigosa.
For several of the Democratic candidates, the Villaraigosa endorsement was pursued as a huge political prize, which it may turn out to be.
Yes, indeed, Antonio’s endorsement may turn out to be the prize here in California. Kerry supporters will remember that Antonio was an early endorser for the Kerry campaign and a campaign chair. I personally have a lot of respect for our Mayor, who I had the pleasure of meeting many times during the Kerry campaign in ’04 and after. I might have preferred he waited a while longer to give the other candidates a better look, but the I see some writing on the wall with this endorsement. The field of candidates is a large one, but there still remains only a couple of frontrunners and Villaraigosa sees something in Hillary that sets her apart…
“This is the deepest and most talented field of Democratic presidential hopefuls in recent memory,” Mr. Villaraigosa said, “but Hillary has demonstrated a strength and an experience that I think sets her apart.”
The N.Y. Times reports that his endorsement of Hillary, “will enable Mr. Villaraigosa to build more political and fund-raising connections around California and the nation as he prepares for a widely expected run for governor in 2010, political analysts said.” His early endorsement of Kerry certainly was a great stepping stone for him. personally, I’m all for him running for Governor in 2010. I’m still not ready to jump on board any presidential campaign, yet. But good for Hillary — the endorsement really is a nice catch.
UPDATE: The Sacramento Bee has more on Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s endorsement of Hillary Clinton.
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