Former Public Works Commissioner John Choi picked up the endorsement of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa in his bid to replace termed-out Eric Garcetti as 13th District Councilman. Meanwhile, Mitch O’Farrell, Choi’s rival in the upcoming May 21 runoff election, has picked up the support of a long list of neighborhood leaders and business owners, reports the Los Feliz Ledger.
The endorsements highlight the differences between the two candidates. Until he launched his campaign, Choi, had been relatively unknown in Council District 13 and recently moved into the area. Despite a lack of roots in the district, Choi’s has the support of powerful labor unions, which have plowed more than $200,000 into his campaign, as well as established elected leaders, including Villaraigosa, who appointed Choi to the Public Works Commission. In a statement issued by the Choi campaign, Villaraigosa said:
“John Choi is a true leader, able to stand up for what our city and neighborhoods need. As an Economic Development Director and Public Works Commissioner, John has proven to me and those who have worked with him that he will deliver in the fight for better schools, safer communities, and a cleaner more sustainable environment. John Choi is the candidate I trust to continue to move Council District 13 forward into a better, more secure future.”
Meanwhile, O’Farrell, a Garcetti staff member from Glassell Park, lags well behind Choi in fundraising but has won the support of numerous neighborhood activists and business owners who worked with him on projects over the year. With this group of supporters, O’Farrell’s familiarity with district outweigh Choi’s strong political connections. One of O’Farrell’s supporters, Silver Lake Neighborhood Council Co-Chair Clint Lukens, told the Los Feliz Ledger:
“Mitch knows our area like the back of his hand—unlike his opponent who just moved to this district in 2012.”
O’Farrell was the top vote getter of the dozen candidates that ran in the March 5 primary, claiming more than 18% of the vote. Choi came in second with about 16%.