Courtesy Photo

LA Councilmember Nury Martinez (left) pledged her support for Antonio Villaraigosa’s campaign for governor.

Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, in a tight battle for governor in the upcoming state primary election on June 5, picked up endorsements from current LA Councilmembers Nury Martinez and Monica Rodriguez.

Both officials gave the endorsement during the opening of Villaraigosa’s San Fernando Valley campaign office in Panorama City on Saturday, May 12.

“I’m supporting my friend Antonio because he is not about doing something — he does it, Antonio makes it happen,” Martinez said. 

“I am so proud to be with all of you here today, to show a tremendous amount of support for the individual that I also believe will be the best for California,” Rodriguez added. 

“I’m honored to have the endorsement of Council-members Nury Martinez and Monica Rodriguez who are committed to strengthening our communities,” Villaraigosa said.

Villaraigosa, who hasn’t held public office in five years, is one of 27 persons listed on the primary ballot for governor to replace a termed out Jerry Brown. Of that 27, six are considered to have the best chance of attracting large numbers of voters. 

Four of the six candidates — Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom,  Treasurer John Chiang, former California Superintendent of Public Instruction Delaine Eastin and Villaraigosa — are listed as Democrats. Two candidates — businessman John Cox and Assemblyman Travis Allen — are Republicans.

Newsom, a former mayor of San Francisco, is considered the front-runner. Allen, Cox and Villaraigosa have been battling fiercely to be the second highest vote-getter behind Newsom.

But Newsom, like Villaraigosa, has been slammed by other candidates for marital infidelities. Newsom had an affair with a close friend’s wife who worked for him in San Francisco. Villaraigosa had an affair with a television reporter while he was mayor of Los Angeles.

Meanwhile, the Chiang campaign is also hammering Villaraigosa for having supported the Republican plan that would dismantle Social Security and Medicare by cutting benefits and raising the retirement age.

In 2013, Villaraigosa supported slashing funding for Social Security and Medicare in order to reduce the national debt and actually referred to both programs as “budget busting.”

Villaraigosa also joined the Fix the Debt Steering Committee, a group made up of “Fortune 500 CEOs who are pushing for Social Security and Medicare cuts,” and he even signed onto a statement that called for “gradual modifications to the Social Security program.”

Members of the committee argued that the only way to deal with the deficit was to impose harsh cuts on Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security — a move that “would disproportionately impact the poor and the elderly.”

“Once again, Antonio Villaraigosa has demonstrated that he can’t be trusted, and that he’ll throw anyone and everyone, including California’s most vulnerable, under the bus to make up for fiscal mismanagement,” said Fabien Levy, deputy campaign manager and communications director for John Chiang’s campaign.

“Our state’s seniors and low-income families rely on Social Security and Medicare to get by, so it’s unconscionable that Antonio had no issue supporting proposals to cut benefits to these programs just to cozy up to corporations and billionaires, like theRepublicans now backing his campaign. I guess it’s now pretty clear, there are actually three Republicans in the race.”

The top two vote-getters, regardless of party affiliation in California’s open primary system, would be in a runoff election in November unless one candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote in June.

No Republican has won a statewide race for governor since Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2006.