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High-profile endorsements surface as election approaches

Some of Southern California's high-profile politicians are finally taking sides and issuing endorsements in competitive races with less than a week remaining before the June 3 primary election.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti Thursday endorsed state Sen. Ted Lieu in the heavily-contested primary for the 33rd Congressional District race to succeed retiring Rep. Henry Waxman, who's held the office for 40 years.

Lieu endorsed Garcetti for mayor last year. Garcetti's office deferred comment on whether the mayor would make joint appearances with Lieu to the candidate's campaign staff.

The race has 17 active candidates including former City Controller Wendy Greuel, who has the endorsement of former L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Others in the race are Deputy District Attorney Elan Carr, spiritual author Marianne Williamson, talk show host Matt Miller, and attorney David Kanuth. (Kanuth has taken a different tack in seeking endorsements — he's got a lineup of sports stars such Mike Piazza on his side and he recently added rapper/actor LL Cool J.)

The district includes Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, parts of the San Fernando Valley and coastal communities south to Palos Verdes 

Also on Thursday, L.A. County Supervisor Gloria Molina announced her support of John Duran, who's running for the Third District supervisor seat being vacated by Zev Yaroslavsky. Duran has built a reputation as a more fiscally conservative and business-oriented candidate in the nonpartisan race. The Los Angeles Times has also endorsed Duran.

Former Santa Monica Mayor Bobby Shriver and former state Senator Sheila Kuehl have dominated in both fundraising and getting media coverage of the race to represent  substantial portions of west Los Angeles County and parts of the San Fernando Valley.

The issue of ethnic representation on the powerful five-member board was broached by Molina, saying in her statement: “When I was elected to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors in 1991, Latinos comprised nearly 38 percent of the total County population.  Now Latinos make up close to 48 percent – yet, to date, just one Latino has served on the Board, a point I made during redistricting."

Molina is termed out from her seat and she is expected to be succeeded by former U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, who is facing token opposition in the race.

Molina's endorsement comes one day after Garcetti endorsed Duran. Garcetti has also weighed in on the Long Beach mayoral race, endorsing Vice Mayor Robert Garcia over businessman Damon Dunn in Tuesday's runoff election.