A war over Hollywood support is brewing between two leading candidates in the hotly contested Congressional race for the seat just-vacated by respected liberal Democrat Henry Waxman.
Matt Miller, the political columnist and radio host, told TheWrap that he has been siphoning financial support in the entertainment industry for the more veteran candidate Wendy Greuel.
“I think Wendy has a core of support who’s been with her for years, many of whom remain with her, and many of whom are disillusioned,” he told TheWrap.
He continued, “They’re disillusioned with her performance in the mayor’s race and her approach to the seat.” The first point refers to Greuel’s loss to Eric Garcetti in Los Angeles mayor race in 2012, and the latter to her move from Encino to within the borders of the 33rd district.
He declined to give examples of Hollywood influencers who had declined to support Greuel, but cited his supporters as director J.J. Abrams, Sony chief Michael Lynton and wife Jamie, director John Wells, agents Nancy Josephson, Adam Venit and others.
Former Paramount chief Sherry Lansing has given to both campaigns, which is not unusual given that both candidates have common friends in the community.
In an interview with TheWrap, Greuel rejected Miller’s premise.
“I continue to have amazing support from the entertainment industry,” she said. “My support is from people at DreamWorks, Rob Reiner, the Meyers, Cindy and Alan Horn,” she said, citing several others.
She added: “This is what people don’t like about the kind of politics that some others have. I’m running on issues, and have been an advocate for the entertainment industry and focused on keeping the jobs here. That’s why I have incredible support in the industry.”
Asked if she believed her supporters were “disillusioned” over her campaign against Garcetti, Greuel said: “There were things I would do differently, and things not in my control and we fought a good fight. All you can do is your best.”
The race to represent the 33rd Congressional district is heated and growing more intense as the June 3rd election date draws closer. After nearly four decades in office Waxman retired earlier this year, opening up one what had been one of the most secure seats in the House to a flood of candidates.
The coastal district is one of the richest and most progressive in the country, including Bel-Air, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, Malibu, Venice, Marina del Rey, Manhattan Beach and Palos Verdes.
Hollywood support — meaning, money — is absolutely critical to this race, which now has 12 candidates, including the state senator State Senator Ted Lieu and independent candidate Marianne Williamson. Williamson has her own core of Hollywood support, having many friends in the industry from her decades as inspirational author and spiritual guru.
Greuel, who worked for the Clinton White House early in her career, has Hollywood ties from her stint at DreamWorks, and through husband Dean Schramm, who produced the documentary “Darfur Now.”
Miller insisted that Hollywood was divided and privately pulling away her supporters.
“I know some of her supporters are coming to my campaign,” he said.