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Villaraigosa Buries Hatchet As He Stumps For Newsom

Former L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa joined gubernatorial candidate Gavin Newsom at a campaign event on Tuesday, June 19, 2018. It was the first time the two had met since the contentious primary contest. (Photo by Mary Plummer/KPCC)
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Two weeks ago, a defeated Antonio Villaraigosa conceded to frontrunner Gavin Newsom and pledged to support his fellow Democrat following Newsom's gubernatorial primary election win.

On Tuesday, Villaraigosa joined Newsom at Homeboy Industries' Homegirl Cafe in Los Angeles and praised his formal rival as a leader who wants the best for California.

It was the first time the two had met since Villaraigosa conceded and it marked the closing of the curtains on a brutal primary campaign.

Over the course of about a dozen debates, the two high-profile Democrats had gone after each other's political record and performance to gain the upper hand in a crowded field. Their marriage infidelities also became an issue.

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In the end, despite his tenure as Los Angeles mayor and millions of dollars in financial support from charter school backers, Villaraigosa could not attract enough votes to overtake Republican John Cox, much less Newsom, who has advanced to the general election.

Villaraigosa and Newsom are now trying to unite their party and ensure the successor to Gov. Jerry Brown, who is termed out, is a Democrat.

Villaraigosa called Newsom "gracious," and said the political fights they had were not personal.

"We want the best for our state," he said.

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For his part, Newsom dodged questions about whether Villaraigosa will have a role in his administration if he is elected.

He said his focus right now is on Cox, especially since the governor's race has grabbed national attention. President Trump has endorsed Cox and is expected to campaign in California for the GOP businessman.