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Former L.A. Mayor Richard Riordan picks his candidate in California’s U.S. Senate race

June 22, 2016

Former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan, a political maverick who has never been shy about bucking his Republican Party, on Wednesday endorsed Democratic Rep. Loretta Sanchez for U.S. Senate.

Riordan said he has known the Orange County congresswoman for years and that Sanchez is “tough and not afraid to take a stand on important issues.”

Riordan praised Sanchez’s ability to work across the aisle in Congress during her 20 years in office and her record as a fiscal moderate.

In the November election, California voters must choose between two Democrats to replace Barbara Boxer in the U.S. Senate — Sanchez and state Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris. Boxer, a Democrat, is retiring after four terms.

The former mayor criticized Harris for being too far to the left politically.

Riordan cited a case in 2008, while Harris served as San Francisco district attorney, when a recently convicted cocaine dealer , Alexander Izaguirre, avoided prison after being accepted into Harris’ “Back on Track” jobs program. Izaguirre, an immigrant, was in the U.S. illegally. He later stole a woman’s purse and then drove into her with an SUV.

“I think she’s a crazy liberal. Not a true liberal,” Riordan said of Harris.

Harris has the backing of the California Democratic Party and Gov. Jerry Brown, and Sanchez has been endorsed by 16 members of California’s congressional delegation.

Riordan was elected mayor of Los Angeles in 1993 and during his two terms was credited with restoring the city after the Los Angeles riots and the 1994 Northridge earthquake.

Riordan often has rankled his fellow Republicans with his independent, unpredictable politics. He endorsed Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein in her successful 1994 bid for reelection.

He also endorsed then-Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama in 2008, criticizing GOP presidential nominee John McCain‘s past support for financial deregulation.

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