Local Dems back Lieu for Waxman seat

Democratic activists voted overwhelmingly to endorse to California state Sen. Ted Lieu (D) over former Los Angeles mayoral candidate Wendy Greuel (D) on Sunday, giving Lieu a big boost in the race to replace retiring Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.).

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More than 70 percent of Democrats at the local party endorsement meeting voted to endorse Lieu, setting him up for a likely endorsement from the state party that would give him a leg up in the race. Greuel won less than 10 percent of the group's endorsements.

The vote showed Lieu to be the heavy favorite of local party elders, some of whom are close to Waxman and his powerful political organization.

"I am honored and humbled to to receive the overwhelming support of local democratic delegates and activists," Lieu said in a statement following the meeting. "I have been privileged to not only live in this district, but to represent and champion issues important to Democrats."

Even with an endorsement from the state party, which appears likely, Lieu could still face a competitive race. Greuel has the backing of EMILY's List, which could help her raise major funds for the campaign. Additionally, California's all-party primary means candidates will have to compete for the heavily Democratic district's independents and handful of Republicans as well, and two Democrats could extend their fight all the way to November.