The “big announcement” came several hours later than expected, but Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has endorsed L.A. City Councilwoman Janice Hahn for lieutenant governor.

In a press release sent out last night, Villaraigosa says, “Janice Hahn knows what it will take to get the job done and fight for all Californians. I have worked side-by-side with Janice fighting gang violence, greening and growing the Port of Los Angeles and creating jobs for Angelenos. There is no doubt, that Janice Hahn is the tough, strong leader California needs as their next lieutenant governor.”

In the same statement, Hahn continues the love fest, saying Villaraigosa has “established himself as a national leader by taking on Los Angeles' biggest challenges.”

How someone becomes a “national leader” by “taking on” local problems is a mystery to us, but the endorsement appears to be a strategic move by the Hahn campaign to somehow deflate the sails of San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, who may soon announce his own candidacy for lieutenant governor.

Hahn has been routinely slamming Newsom even before he commits to the race.

The Villaraigosa endorsement also takes a shot at California State Senate Majority Leader Dean Florez, a Latino politician who's running for lieutenant governor in the Democratic primary as well.

The Hahn campaign hopes Villaraigosa's backing will help the San Pedro-area councilwoman with statewide Latino voters, even though Villaraigosa's popularity in the Latino community — at least in the Los Angeles area — has dropped a few degrees over the years.

Yet one thing is for sure: Villaraigosa's announcement has now added one more intriguing layer of hardball politics to a historically boring race for lieutenant governor.

Contact Patrick Range McDonald at

LA Weekly