Alarcon, Dems go for Antonio **

James Nash of the L.A. Business Journal has posted a web story that Richard Alarcon will announce tonight that he is endorsing Villaraigosa for mayor, as he did in 2001. An unidentified Alarcon aide says that the state Senator, who finished fifth in the primary, will do the deed at tonight's Democratic Party gathering. The gathering itself should be interesting, as Hahn tries to block Villaraigosa from getting the 60% of votes he needs to be endorsed by the county committee. Both candidates are expected, even in the rain.

Earlier in the day: Villaraigosa supped with Bob Hertzberg at Art's Deli to talk turkey about an endorsement.

* 10:30 p.m. Update:

Villaraigosa got Alarcon and the county Democratic Central Committee endorsement, 116 votes to 72. It was actually closer than that: the winner needed 113 votes to be endorsed. He called it a BIG thing, "A vote of no confidence in the incumbent mayor by his own party." Hahn said it was no big deal, and no surprise given Villaraigosa's party connections. Both worked the crowd hard before the vote. Speaking for Villaraigosa were Alarcon, Speaker Fabian Nunez, Assembly member Karen Bass, councilman Martin Ludlow and UFW co-founder Dolores Huerta, with legislators Kevin Murray and Jackie Goldberg and Board of Education president Jose Huizar on the bench. Taking the mike for Hahn were State Sen. Gil Cedillo, labor leader Tyrone Freeman and council members Tom La Bonge and Jan Perry, with Janice Hahn and Eric Garcetti in reserve.

Random observations:

Each candidate had their City Hall chief of staff on hand, Jimmy Blackman for Villaraigosa, Tim McOsker for Hahn...Hahn was animated and fiery, almost yelling his pitch that "I understand this job is about rolling up your sleeves and getting things done...My career has been about helping people...Keep this dream alive."...Villaraigosa called Goldberg one of his "she-roes" and Bass his sister in the struggle, he hugged Huerta and pledged to bring more diversity to government: "My responsibility as the next mayor of the most diverse city in the world is to open up the city to more people."...Alarcon opened by saying, "This is not a statement about personal character. These are two people who have dedicated their lives to the service of Los Angeles, no doubt...[But] I believe change is due."...Nunez was booed when he alluded to a "dirty campaign" run by Hahn in 2001...Cedillo called Hahn "nothing less than a profile in courage."...County Democratic chair Eric Bauman: "I think we have a quorum of the Legislature here."...KNBC's Beverly White and KCAL's Dave Bryan stuck it out to the end, along with the print scribes.

** Wednesday stories: Times has it Local Party Snubs Hahn, Daily News goes with County Dems Back Villaraigosa. Blogger The Angelino has a good on-scene report.

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