The local Democratic Party decided last night to hold off on endorsing a candidate in the city attorney race despite a push by some activists to give incumbent Mike Aguirre the early nod.

Enough members of the county party’s Central Committee heeded the calls of the municipal labor unions, a key Democratic constituency, and other Aguirre critics to postpone its consideration closer to next June’s city attorney contest. In the end, Aguirre fell two votes short of the 60 percent he needed to secure an endorsement, local party Chairman Jess Durfee said.

Political parties typically provide their sitting officeholders the advantage of an early endorsement to help their favored candidate solidify support within the party’s ranks. With the endorsement comes the party’s ability to spend an unlimited amount in campaign cash on wooing registered Democrats, freeing up chosen candidates to use their campaign kitties on non-Democrats.

Aguirre’s inability to capture the party’s early support leaves open the field to other lawyers who might decide to challenge Aguirre closer to Election Day.

The party’s Central Committee can choose to consider an early endorsement for Aguirre any time it likes, but the regular schedule for endorsements typically comes after the candidate filing deadline in March, Durfee said.

EVAN McLAUGHLIN

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