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Villaraigosa endorses Feuer in LA city attorney race

CIty Attorney candidate Mike Feuer (right) accepted the endorsement of Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
CIty Attorney candidate Mike Feuer (right) accepted the endorsement of Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

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Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraisosa re-ignited a City Hall feud Thursday when he endorsed Mike Feuer for City Attorney over the incumbent, Carmen Trutanich.

Feuer is a former L.A. City Councilman and State Assemblyman who Villaraigosa said he's know for 20 years.

In 2009, Villaraigosa backed Jack Weiss for city attorney, but he lost to Trutanich.  Villaraigosa, citing the city's budget crisis, cut Trutanich's budget by more than $40 million in the current fiscal year.

But at a press conference in Boyle Heights, the mayor said his endorsement had less to do with Trutanich's performance and more with Feuer's qualitites.

“When he gets on an issue, he is tenacious, he is indefatigable, he is creative,” Villaraigosa said of Feuer.  The mayor cited Feuer’s work on gun control and Measure R, the countywide transportation tax that fell short of approval in November.

In his own news conference later, Trutanich responded by blasting Feuer and Villaraigosa.

“If I was a termed out Sacramento politician with very little record on law enforcement… I think I’d be grubbing for political insider endorsements too,” Trutanich said. He also criticized the mayor for cutting his department's budget.

Last year, many analysts predicted Trutanich would easily win his bid for L.A. County district attorney. But he failed to make the runoff after a barrage of negative press reports about his sometimes combative style. Now, he’s considerably behind Feuer in fundraising to stay in the city attorney’s office. In the latest financial reports filed Thursday, Feuer has raised a half-million dollars more than Trutanich.

“I am busy doing my job, not making fundraising calls,” Trutanich said.  But he also responded to a question about his ill-fated run for District Attorney.

“We ran for D.A. because we thought we could make a difference,” Trutanich said. “We didn’t win. Maybe that was a mistake.”

Its unclear how much Villaraigosa’s endorsement will help Feuer, given the mayor’s waning popularity.

Feuer maintained the mayor’s backing would help with Democrats, who comprise upwards of 60% of the electorate in L.A.

“This is a signal of something very important in my race,” Feuer said.