With no suspense to be had in the big hall, the L.A. mayor's race was the talk of the California delegation at breakfast yesterday morning. The Weekly's Harold Meyerson blogs that most of the key players — Jim Hahn, Antonio Villaraigosa and Bernie Parks — were there looking jet-lagged, and Bob Hertzberg was en route. Villaraigosa's side let it be known last week that he wouldn't go public with his announcement until after Kerry Week in Boston, but Meyerson reports that the councilman (who lost to Hahn last time) has been asking delegates for their support. Meyerson's handicapping:
There is more L.A. mayoral politics going on in the room at the moment than anywhere in Los Angeles...Villaraigosa's somewhat late entry has caused a problem for some Democrats, among them Howard Welinsky, long a leading figure in Jewish Democratic organizations. In 2001, Welinsky was one of Villaraigosa's leading backers, but earlier this year, when it looked as if Villaraigosa wasn't running, Welinsky backed Bob Hertzberg, a longtime friend. That didn't mean that Welinsky said No to Villaraigosa when the councilman called him a couple weeks ago. "I've endorsed them both," Welinsky said.
The talk in the room forecast a tight three-way race between Hahn, Hertzberg and Villaraigosa; and no one I spoke with was laying heavy bets on any one of them. Hahn will claim the lion's share of labor support this time out, having pretty much delivered on the things that the L.A. County Federation of Labor asked of him. Villaraigosa will still be the darling of the East Side and much of the West, while Hertzberg is heir to much of the Riordan coalition. Hahn is widely thought to be the second choice of many voters -- a strong position if he makes it into the runoff. But to make it into the runoff, he has to be the first choice of many voters, and it's not at all clear that the two former state Assembly Speakers, Villaraigosa and Hertzberg, won't have more round-one votes than the mayor. It should be quite a fight.
Meyerson also attended the Fleishman-Hillard party that his colleague Marc Cooper posted about (see "They're everywhere" below), and points out that Los Angeles officials stayed far away from the tainted PR firm. Of course, Harold admits to "blogging while crocked," so maybe he just missed them. Line of the day: he calls Boston's Fleet Center "the most inadequate convention facility for journalists since the night the Bolsheviks convened in Petrograd just after taking power."