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Newsom, Villaraigosa join forces ahead of November election

Gavin Newsom (263721)
Gavin Newsom

Putting the bitterness of the primary election campaign behind them, Antonio Villaraigosa and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom this week held their first joint appearance, with the former Los Angeles mayor vowing full support for his fellow Democrat’s gubernatorial bid.

Villaraigosa, who finished third in the June 5 primary and will watch from the sidelines as Newsom takes on Republican businessman John Cox in the November general election, said he will work to get out the vote for the lieutenant governor.

“I think it’s important that we work together, because a vote for John Cox is a vote for Donald Trump,” Villaraigosa said outside Homegirl Cafe north of downtown Los Angeles, where he had his first public appearance with Newsom since the primary election. Villaraigosa endorsed Newsom that night.

“Donald Trump endorsed (Cox’s) candidacy, and he did because they both agree that we should have a wall instead of a bridge,” Villaraigosa said.

Cox’s campaign issued a statement noting that Villaraigosa and Newsom fought a bitter battle during the primary election campaign, “accusing each other of being part of the political establishment that created California’s problems.”

“As their attacks on each other demonstrated, both were a creation of that system that has rewarded the insiders while making California unaffordable for the rest of us,” according to the Cox camp. “Now, Gavin Newsom’s platform is simply more of the same, without fixing the problems.”

At their joint appearance, Villaraigosa and Newsom downplayed the primary election swipes.

“I’ve known Antonio for decades,” Newsom said. “I was never looking forward to running against him for any office.”

Newsom said he has “extraordinary respect and admiration” for Villaraigosa and his work not only for Los Angeles, but for “the state and this country.”

Villaraigosa said the campaign “wasn’t personal.”

“Both of us love this state. We grew up here. We want the best for our state,” he said.

Newsom said he welcomes Villaraigosa’s commitment to his campaign, a commitment that he said will unify Democrats in opposition to Cox.

“I expect and will request all the support and counsel, advice, direction and advocacy to work in a coordinated fashion to turn out that vote this November,” Newsom said.

A USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll released Tuesday found Newsom had the support of 45 percent of registered voters, while Cox had 28 percent, and 27 percent of voters were undecided.