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LA mayor's race: Jan Perry endorses Eric Garcetti; Magic Johnson endorses Wendy Greuel

Former NBA star Magic Johnson endorses Wendy Greuel for mayor.
Former NBA star Magic Johnson endorses Wendy Greuel for mayor.
Alice Walton/KPCC
Former NBA star Magic Johnson endorses Wendy Greuel for mayor.
Mayoral candidate Eric Garcetti accepts the endorsement of his former opponent Jan Perry.
Alice Walton/KPCC

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Los Angeles Mayor race 2013It was a busy day for candidates in the mayor’s race, with both Wendy Greuel and Eric Garcetti picking up major endorsements with less than eight weeks before the runoff.

Entrepreneur and former Lakers star Earvin “Magic” Johnson endorsed the Greuel campaign. Johnson has a track record of backing winning mayoral candidates, with Jim Hahn in 2001 and Antonio Villaraigosa in 2005.

“We know that she’s a problem-solver," Johnson said outside the West Angeles Church of God. "We already know that she has the skill and the talent and the expertise to get the job done.” 

Other African-American leaders who have endorsed Greuel, including County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, the Rev. Cecil "Chip" Murray and LAPD Commissioner John Mack.  The Los Angeles Sentinel newspaper, a longtime presence in the African-American community, also endorsed Greuel's campaign.

RELATED: KPCC's LA mayoral race endorsement tracker

Earlier in the day, standing outside the 28th Street YMCA, former mayoral candidate Jan Perry endorsed Eric Garcetti. While Perry finished fourth in the March 5 primary, she received 55 percent of the African-American vote, according to an exit poll from Loyola Marymount University.

“We are a very complex city with complex problems that must be attended to every day," Perry said. "We don’t have any time to waste."

“I’m going to make sure that Eric meets with people who have supported me and that he takes a comprehensive look at South Los Angeles so that people here get to know him on the macro level and the micro level and understand what he is about.”

Perry served on the Los Angeles City Council with both Garcetti and Greuel. Asked to expand on her decision, Perry referred to negative mailers sent by Greuel's campaign during the primary that drew attention to Perry's ex-husband’s financial problems. Perry also raised concerns about the millions of dollars city unions are spending in support of Greuel:

“Maya Angelou has a very interesting quote: Thank you for letting me know who you are.”

The councilwoman said she viewed the mailers as Greuel basically saying, “I do not respect you and I respect you so little that I would delve into your personal background and then mischaracterize it, to boot.”

After the primary, Greuel left Perry a voicemail, seeking her support. Perry did not return the call.

Asked about her campaign's attack on Perry, Greuel told reporters: “If you just look at all of the mailers that were hit pieces on me – look, this is politics.”

Endorsements often work the same way as job recommendations, according to Raphael Sonenshein, executive director of the Pat Brown Institute of Public Affairs. At this point in the race, support from well-known names can help, since neither candidate has “broken through” to the electorate, he said.

“As the race gets closer to Election Day, each of them could put forward a lot of people writing letters of recommendation for them to get the job, but they have got to close the deal,” Sonenshein said.

Kevin James placed third in the primary. Both campaigns have reached out for his endorsement, and he told KPCC Thursday he's getting closer to making a decision. 

The runoff election is May 21.

How do these endorsements affect your decision? Do they matter to you? Let us know in the comments.