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Rogan's Recollections

(And Occasional Historical Observations)

Remembering Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan (1930-2023)

Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan and Congressman James Rogan, the US Capitol, 1997.

Richard Riordan, a wealthy businessman who won election as the 39th Mayor of Los Angeles (1993 to 2001), was the last Republican to hold that position. When I served as a Republican representative in both the California legislature and in Congress, I represented Los Angeles County, and so I worked closely with Dick on many issues and we became quite friendly.


At his request I gave him my endorsement when he ran for reelection in 1997; when I ran for reelection a couple of years later, I asked him to reciprocate. "Well, Jim," he told me apologetically, "I think you're the greatest, we're friends, and you know I'm all for you. But, well, I have to work with the Democrats in L.A., you have a big target on your back, and it might hurt me if I endorse you. I hope you understand." I told him I did—completely. No hard feelings.

A couple of days later he called me. "You know," he told me, "I've been thinking about it. You're really a great congressman and you deserve reelection, so I'm endorsing you."

Any gratitude I felt was tamped down a bit when, a few hours later, I learned that he had timed his call to me to coincide with Mrs. Dick Riordan issuing a press release announcing that she was hosting a major Los Angeles fundraiser--for my opponent!

Dick Riordan died today at age 92. As I told him 25 years ago, still no hard feelings. Rest in peace. 

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