Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Mailers confuse party endorsements in race for Los Angeles' mayor

Slate mailer

Alice Walton/KPCC

Despite its appearance, this mailer is not affiliated with the Democratic Party. In fact, candidates paid thousands of dollars to appear in the booklet, which was sent to registered Democrats.

Eric Garcetti is often described as a liberal progressive, but is he (secretly) a Republican? One slate mailer implies that’s the case.

Candidates pay to appear in slate mailers that are targeted to select groups of voters. Despite his liberal credentials, Garcetti paid $8,000 to appear on a mailer that is titled “Continuing the Republican Revolution.”

Did Garcetti switch his party affiliation? No, according to the campaign.

Los Angeles Mayor race 2013

“Eric has a broad base of support across Los Angeles, including many Republicans,” says Jeff Millman, a spokesman for the campaign. “They particularly like Eric’s leadership on enacting pension reform, cutting business taxes and standing up to the special interests at the DWP that want to buy the election for Wendy Greuel.”

Speaking of Greuel, she paid to be endorsed in a slate mailer titled “Democratic Marked Sample Ballot.” Though the mailer includes a solicitation for the California Democratic Party, it is in fact unaffiliated with the party. The Los Angeles County Democratic Party declined to endorse in the mayor’s race.

“We have no control over the content that's used on any slate mailer beyond the language we submit to highlight our candidate,” said Dave Jacobson, a spokesman for the Greuel campaign.

The “Democratic Marked Sample Ballot” was produced by a group that calls itself the The John F. Kennedy Alliance. Fred Huebscher, founder of the group behind the alliance, did not respond to  a request for comment Monday.  

The chair of the local party says it frequently sends cease-and-desist letters to the folks behind misleading mailers.

 “It doesn’t really do us much good,” said Eric Bauman. “There are all kinds of slate mailers banding themselves about, designed to look like they are representative of political parties or various organizations.”

The L.A. County Democratic Party did endorse in the races for city attorney, controller and the Los Angeles City Council. That official list is available here . As for the Los Angeles County Republican Party, the group backed Kevin James for mayor.

“Voters are terribly confused and especially when [mailers] carry endorsements that are not the party’s endorsements,” Bauman said of the mailers. 

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