Democratic gubernatorial candidate Antonio Villaraigosa made a visit to the Coachella Valley Friday with the 2018 California Primary election just months away.
“People are going to start to tune in, and I’m hoping they do,” he said.
The former Los Angeles Mayor said he’s visited the valley about a dozen times in the last six months.
“I recognize you want to be the Governor for the whole state,” Villaraigosa said. “Not just for the coast. Not just for San Francisco and Los Angeles. You want to be a Governor that represents every community.”
Villaraigosa and other candidates, including Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom and State Treasurer John Chiang, have made pitstops in Riverside County preparing for the June 5 primary.
Local Democratic party leaders said the start of the new year will be focused on narrowing down candidates, with upcoming caucuses and their state convention next month.
“Those of us that are activists and stay involved, and have the privilege of going to the convention, and then have the privilege of saying this is who we’re going to support,” Elle Kurpiewski, Political Director for Democratic Headquarters of the Desert said.
Meanwhile, local Republican party leaders said they’ll be spending the first part of their year talking with candidates for Governor, and wait until the county filing period is up in February before they declare their endorsement.
“Once we know who actually has qualified for the next step, then we can start meeting in our local caucuses and say, ‘We’ve got five people running, who’s our top two? Let’s figure it out and let’s get behind the top two,” Johnny Hildreth, ROC (Republican Organizing Committee) of the Desert Chairman said.
Candidates like Villaraigosa hope to spread their message and rally support.
“The mindset is to knock on as many doors as I can,” Villaraigosa said.
Newsom campaigned in Riverside Friday.
Local Republican leaders said Orange County Assemblyman and gubernatorial candidate Travis Allen is expected to visit Indian Wells next Friday.