Los Angeles Mayor James Hahn is trying to invigorate a troubled reelection campaign by portraying himself as tough on crime and his challenger as soft on gangs, says the Los Angeles Times. With a new Times poll showing the mayor trailing Councilman Antonio Villaraigosa by 18 points, Hahn portrayed Villaraigosa as too liberal for the city. Accompanied by Police Chief William J. Bratton, Hahn assailed Villaraigosa for saying 13 years ago that local laws barring gang members from parks “do violence to the Constitution.”
Crime was the only major subject in the Times survey on which voters viewed him more favorably over Villaraigosa. Republicans and conservatives were the only major voting blocs supporting Hahn’s reelection in the May 17 runoff. Hahn seemed to be trying an appeal to the more than four in 10 likely voters who see Villaraigosa as being more liberal than themselves.