Politics

Just like race, super PACs for Kuehl, Shriver neck and neck

Labor unions have created an independent group to help elect Sheila Kuehl to the LA County Board of Supervisors.
Labor unions have created an independent group to help elect Sheila Kuehl to the LA County Board of Supervisors.
Sheila Kuehl

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Labor unions representing county government workers this week created an independent committee to raise money for Sheila Kuehl, who is running to replace Zev Yaroslavsky on the powerful five-member Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, according to new campaign reports.

The group has an unwieldy name: "Local Experience We Trust For Our Communities - A Coalition Of Working Men And Women, Nurses, Teachers, Firefighters and Public Safety Officers For Sheila Kuehl For Supervisor 2014."

It raised $362,000 through five contributions, all on Sept. 19, according to campaign finance reports. The Association of LA Deputy Sheriffs State PAC and LA County Firefighters Local 1014 Firefighters Ready and Committed in Emergencies each wrote a check for $125,000. The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, District Council 36, pitched in $25,000.

Unions represent about 85,000 county workers and those contracts are up for renewal with the Board of Supervisors next year.

A group dominated by business interests has also formed an independent committee, or Super PAC, to help her rival, former Santa Monica Mayor Bobby Shriver, the nephew of former President John F. Kennedy. It’s raised more than $325,000 through smaller individual donations.

Kong Leung of Finance APA Investments, a real estate investment group, contributed $35,000 to the Committee to Elect Bobby Shriver Supervisor 2014; the California Real Estate Political Action Committee gave $25,000; and former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan kicked in $25,000.

The Los Angeles County Business Federation and Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce have endorsed Shriver.

Labor leaders said they see Kuehl as more labor friendly than Shriver – even though both are Democrats in the non-partisan race. So far, they have raised only a fraction of the $8 million they raised to help elect Ridley-Thomas in 2008.

If elected, Kuehl, Supervisor-elect Hilda Solis and Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas would form a “labor majority” on the board, according to analysts.

Rusty Hicks, political director for the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor said the Super PAC for Kuehl was created “because people across L.A. want the candidate with the most experience.”

Independent committees are not subject to the same $1,500 limit on individual contributions as candidates. Under law, the groups are prohibited from coordinating campaign activities with candidates.

Other notable contributions to the group backing Shriver: