Los Angeles City Councilman Eric Garcetti earned a key endorsement this week from the influential Democratic Party of the San Fernando Valley.
Garcetti is among eight candidates who qualified for the March 5 ballot in the race to replace outgoing Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who is termed out of office.
Garcetti campaign strategist Bill Carrick called the endorsement by the Democratic Party of San Fernando Valley—63 percent of its voting members supported Garcetti—"a tremendous asset for our ground game. The DPSFV is the strongest political organization in the Valley right now."
"In the last few years, DPSFV has been one of the most active and organized and energetic Democratic operations in California, and they have always had lots of people who get on phone banks and go door knocking," Carrick said.
The field includes City Controller Wendy Greuel, a Studio City resident, City Councilwoman Jan Perry, attorney and former federal prosecutor Kevin James, and technology company executive and former Villaraigosa personal assistant Emanuel Pleitez.
The Valley is considered by many to be a crucial battleground in the race.
"The Valley is the key to the mayor's race," said Bill Carrick, a political consultant who represents Garcetti, according to the Los Angeles Daily News. "It will be the core battleground."
Garcetti recently launched his new campaign headquarters in Studio City, James' headquarters is in Sherman Oaks and Greuel's is in Van Nuys, signaliging the importance many of the candidates place on the Valley.
Garcetti also picked up his first endorsement this week from a fellow City Council member.
Councilman Ed Reyes, who was elected to the City Council at the same time as Garcetti in 2001, called his colleague a leader who "marshaled this city through our most challenging economic times."
Greuel has the endorsement of Councilmen Bill Rosendahl, Tony Cardenas and Jose Huizar. Her campaign today also announced an endorsement from Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina, who said she supported Greuel's work as a fiscal watchdog for the city.
"I was proud to make history by being the first Latina elected to the Assembly, the LA City Council and the Board of Supervisors. I urge Angelenos to join me in making history once again and electing Wendy Greuel as mayor of Los Angeles," Molina said.
Perry has been endorsed by Councilman Bernard Parks and former council members Greig Smith and Ruth Galanter.
Garcetti said he was honored to have earned Reyes' support.
"Ed Reyes is a champion for Northeast L.A. and the L.A. River who shares my belief in the untapped greatness of our city—greatness we can unleash if we harness innovative solutions to create jobs and and make City Hall work again," Garcetti said.