Firefighters Are Hot for Oropeza in House Special

Posted June 19, 2007 at 9:39am

State Sen. Jenny Oropeza (D) picked up an endorsement over the weekend from the International Association of Firefighters as she continued to battle state Assemblywoman Laura Richardson (D) in the campaign to replace the late Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald (D).

With the June 26 special election looming and the two frontrunners Oropeza and Richardson sparring over the veracity of their respective polls, Oropeza announced she has received potentially key backing from the IAFF, including three of the union’s local chapters based in Los Angeles County.

“Senator Oropeza has demonstrated her commitment to public safety and the firefighters, and I know she will be a champion in Congress,” IAFF General President Harold Schaitberger said in a statement.

With Richardson leading by 9 points in an early June poll conducted by her campaign and already having secured the backing of the AFL-CIO-affiliated Los Angeles Federation of Labor, support from the IAFF could be key for Oropeza. IAFF backing includes the endorsements of the Long Beach Firefighters Local 372; Los Angeles County Firefighters Local 1014; and Los Angeles City Firefighters Local 112.

Meanwhile, the two campaigns continued to argue this past weekend over polling, with Oropeza’s camp last week releasing a month-old poll to counter claims by Richardson’s team that the Assemblywoman had the upper hand in the race.

The Richardson campaign promptly responded to the poll by mocking Oropeza’s decision to release month-old numbers, saying it proves she is in trouble.

“Jenny’s obviously struggling to show some viability as her campaign plummets,” John Shallman, Richardson’s chief strategist, said in a statement.
— David M. Drucker