Two of the most important endorsements in L.A.'s mayoral runoff are expected this week or next.

Defeated candidates Bob Hertzberg and Bernard Parks, who could deliver critical blocks of voters to their favored candidate, have been courted vigorously by Mayor James Hahn and challenger Antonio Villaraigosa. People close to both camps expect Hertzberg and Parks to endorse soon, and the expectation is that both will endorse Villaraigosa.

Hertzberg met separately with Villaraigosa and Hahn in two highly publicized sessions at Art's Deli in Studio City last month. One Hertzberg confidante last week said they were expecting him to make an announcement in the next week or two.

Hertzberg's constituency of conservative-leaning San Fernando Valley voters largely overlaps with that of Hahn's traditional bases. But during the campaign, Hertzberg made no secret of his disdain for Hahn's leadership style.

Villaraigosa won a number of East Valley precincts in the primary; a Hertzberg endorsement could deliver a complementary block of West San Fernando Valley voters.

A Hertzberg endorsement would also mean that his strained relationship with Villaraigosa, a former roommate and political ally when both were in Sacramento, would be mended for the purposes of the campaign. During the mayoral primary, Hertzberg and Villaraigosa were civil toward each other as they both aimed their fire at Hahn.

Meanwhile, Parks met both candidates late last month in his South L.A. council district, according to his spokesman Bernard Parks Jr., who said that the councilman would likely make his endorsement this week.

Given the longstanding friction between the mayor and the former police chief it was Hahn who three years ago decided he would not support Parks' reappointment as chief almost no one believes Parks would endorse Hahn.

More liberal-leaning black officials, including U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Los Angeles, have endorsed Villaraigosa already as has another defeated mayoral candidate, Richard Alarc & #243;n. A Parks endorsement for Villaraigosa would further erode a constituency that Hahn has counted on.

If both endorsements flow toward Villaraigosa, it would further add to the momentum that the city councilman and former Assembly speaker has built since scoring the highest vote tally in the primary, nearly 10 points ahead of Hahn.

Such was the case four years ago, when Villaraigosa won virtually every endorsement most notably from then-Mayor Richard Riordan. In the end, Hahn won out after launching an attack ad exposing Villaraigosa's support for a presidential pardon of a convicted drug dealer. Villaraigosa lost the runoff by seven points.


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