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A group of prominent local Democrats gathered in a shady patch of the Civic Center courtyard this afternoon to rally support for city attorney candidate and Superior Court Judge Jan Goldsmith.
Goldsmith was joined by a cavalcade of endorsers and supporters, many of whom carried placards proclaiming “Aguirre must go” and “Aguirre is not a Democrat.” The crowd of about 90 people included City Council members Ben Hueso and Scott Peters and ex-state Sens. Dede Alpert and Wadie Deddeh, all of whom stroke strongly in support of Goldsmith’s run against incumbent Mike Aguirre.
There was also plenty of criticism of Aguirre to go around, including from Hueso and Peters, both notable nemeses of the incumbent.
“I get a sense that there’s a groundswell of support building for Judge Goldsmith,” Hueso said. “This is not a personal or a partisan issue for me, I’m simply going out and doing what I think is best for my city.”
Joining the sizable crowd supporting Goldsmith were a few dozen representatives of the Municipal Employees’ Association, a union that represents City Hall’s white-collar workers. The union endorsed Goldsmith in July.
Goldsmith told me prior to the press conference that the rally effectively marks the kick-off point for his fall campaign. He said the support of so many Democrats enforces his campaign message that Goldsmith is about the law and nothing but the law and that he will rid the City Attorney’s Office of political partisanship and personal politics.
“I realize that many Democrats would not support me if I was running for the state legislature,” Goldsmith said. “‘But that’s not what this office is about. I’m not running for a legislative position and I won’t. I don’t want another political career.”
The first time I interviewed — indeed, the first time I met — Goldsmith, was in a small room at the Westgate Hotel where he had just received endorsements from District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis and Sheriff Bill Kolender, both prominent local Republicans.
Since then, Goldsmith came first in the June primary election that featured a slew of candidates, including Peters and City Councilman Brian Maienschein. The judge has also been working hard to dispel any notion that he is the token Republican candidate for the City Attorney’s Office. His message that he is a nonpartisan lawyer who will not jump into what he calls the “sandbox of politics” was enough to entice Peters, and Hueso earlier this year.
But while Hueso and Peters have both backed Goldsmith wholeheartedly, they both told me that they hope the judge stays true to his commitment to be apolitical. They both told me Goldsmith has promised them he will not let his Republican ideology interfere with the running of the City Attorney’s Office.
“That’s what he’s promised me and over time I’ve come to believe him,” Peters told me last month.
“I hope together, we as a community, can hold him to that promise,” Hueso told me in June.
For his part, Aguirre has sought to portray Goldsmith as an arch-Republican in disguise. As soon as he gets into office, Aguirre has claimed, Goldsmith will reveal himself for the establishment ultra-conservative he really is.
I called Aguirre to get his take on today’s news conference. I haven’t heard back yet.