Former President Bill Clinton endorsed Los Angeles City Controller Wendy Greuel for mayor Monday. The backing comes at a crucial time for Greuel, who shook up her campaign team over the weekend amid concerns over messaging.
"Wendy is a smart, dedicated, and creative problem-solver. She knows how to make government work for ordinary people,” President Clinton said in a statement. Greuel worked for Clinton’s Department of Housing and Urban Development in the 1990’s, and was an early backer of Hillary Clinton in her 2008 bid for president. The Clintons place a high value on loyalty.
"President Clinton has been a role model for me of what strong leadership can mean in terms of creating jobs and building coalitions,” Greuel said. “This endorsement demonstrates the momentum we are determined to build through May 21."
Greuel is seeking to building momentum after finishing behind City Councilman Eric Garcetti in the primary. Her second place finish came despite nearly $3 million dollars in help from city labor unions.
She’s also struggled to articulate her position on pension reform and has been criticized by some supporters for proposing to hire more police officers and firefighters amid city budget deficits.
Over the weekend, Greuel announced she’d hired Janelle Erickson to run her day-to-day operations. Erickson has worked for Greuel in the past and is a former deputy to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. She also accepted the resignation of four field strategists and hired a new field director, Sue Burnside.
John Shallman became the “top strategist,” according to a statement. Rose Kapolczynski, once considered a co-equal to Shallman, was listed simply as a strategist.
Two key questions remain about the Clinton endorsement:
One – will he appear in advertisement and/or campaign with Greuel in Los Angeles?
Two – will his backing be followed by President Obama’s endorsement of Garcetti, who was an early backer of Obama and served on his national committee?