Edward Headington, the moderate Democrat who calls himself the "purple choice" in the heavily Republican 38th Assembly District, today announced what he called a "game-changing" endorsement -- that of former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan, a Republican. In addition, Headington announced the support of Los Angeles City Councilman Mitch Englander, another Republican.
The high-profile GOP endorsements will no doubt help Headington try to make his case that he is in fact a moderate choice in his race against conservative Republican Scott Wilk.
Headington notes that Riordan "overhwhelmingly carried the San Fernando Valley" in his two campaigns for mayor, but there is a problem using that fact to demonstrate Riordan's potential popularity in the district. Forget the fact that Riordan was three mayors ago, and the voters' familiarity with his name and reputation has long faded. The real problem is that a significant majority of district voters don't live in the city of Los Angeles.
Most of the 176,962 voters who live in Los Angeles County reside in Santa Clarita, an incorporated city in its own right. Another 68,572 voters live in Simi Valley.
Headington surely will benefit by pointing to Riordan's support as evidence that he really is the kind of Democrat that independents and moderate Republicans can feel comfortable with. But if he's counting on any star power associated with Riordan's name in the district, it's just not there.