The outreach infuriated Mark Kelly, who vented to associates that he felt like he was being strong-armed over his refusal to relent on Eric Garcetti’s nomination / Patrick Semansky-Pool/Getty Images
It’s been more than a year since the LA mayor was nominated. The attempts to break the logjam are getting more aggressive.
By Christopher Cadelago | POLITICO
Democratic powerbrokers close to Eric Garcetti privately pressured Sen. Mark Kelly to support the Los Angeles mayor’s ambassadorial nomination, according to five people familiar with the outreach.
As part of the push, they left the strong impression that the Arizona Democrat could find himself cut off from donor networks should he refuse to back the beleaguered nominee to be U.S. ambassador to India.
The outreach infuriated Kelly, who vented to associates that he felt like he was being strong-armed over his refusal to relent on Garcetti’s nomination, two of the people with direct knowledge said. Kelly, who is up for reelection this year, is a top Senate fundraiser and frequently draws from Southern California as part of his campaign’s national reach.
One person familiar with the advocacy said they were surprised that allies in Garcetti’s orbit believed Kelly, a retired astronaut who prides himself on his independent streak, could be swayed by appeals from major donors and luminaries. The person added that they believed the appeals were part of a coordinated campaign involving several Garcetti supporters.
“These kinds of tactics backfire,” a second person familiar with the effort told POLITICO. “It’s hard to believe Garcetti didn’t have knowledge or didn’t push for these donors to call.”
But Breelyn Pete, a former deputy mayor and longtime adviser to the mayor who now works for a lobbying firm attempting to push forward the nomination, said Garcetti “has not coordinated anything.”
“He has worked with Sen. Kelly, has deep respect for him and the confirmation process, and is happy to speak directly with any senators to discuss his nomination,” Pete said in a statement.
The White House reiterated that Garcetti played no part in the pressure campaign.