Antonio Villaraigosa, center, with Wendy Greuel, right

File photo shows Antonio Villaraigosa, center and Wendy Greuel, right. (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times / November 9, 2006)

Former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa endorsed Wendy Greuel’s congressional bid Tuesday, saying her background made her the best candidate for the seat being vacated by retiring Rep. Henry Waxman.

“Wendy Greuel is the right choice, right now,” Villaraigosa said in a written statement. “The Wendy Greuel I know is a champion for women, a champion on the environment and something near and dear to me, a huge champion on transportation and traffic relief.”

Villaraigosa’s backing of Greuel is notable because he declined to weigh in on the testy mayoral contest to elect his successor in 2013, a race that Greuel ultimately lost to Eric Garcetti.

Greuel, a former city controller and councilwoman, is one of two Democratic candidates who announced that they would run for the seat immediately after Waxman announced his decision to retire after 20 terms. The other, state Sen. Ted Lieu, rolled out more than two dozen endorsements when he announced his bid Friday.

But others are circling the race to represent a district that stretches from the Pacific Palisades to the Palos Verdes Peninsula and includes the South Bay, the Westside and a portion of the San Fernando Valley.

Democratic activist and attorney Sandra Fluke, who is weighing a bid, just filed paperwork with the state Democratic party seeking its endorsement. Fluke became famous in 2012 after radio host Rush Limbaugh called her a “slut” after the then law student testified in Congress in favor of mandatory insurance coverage of contraception. After graduating from law school, she moved to Los Angeles, passed the California bar exam, has been active in Democratic circles and has spent time working on issues related to the foster care system and a living wage.

An advioer to Fluke said she has not made a decision on whether to ru, but filed the paperwork with the state party to preserve her options. (In order to be considered for an endorsement at the state Democratic party’s convention in March, candidates must file paperwork with the party by this weekend).

"Filing with the state party was an important step to keep her options open. It is not indicative of a final decision, but she will decide soon,” said the advisor.

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