When it comes to an endorsement, Indio City Councilmembers are split 3-2 in who they support for Fourth District Riverside County Supervisor – or are they?

Mayor Michael H. Wilson and Councilmembers Glenn Alan Miller and Elaine Holmes are listed on Jan Harnik’s website as endorsing her as she challenges V. Manuel “Manny” Perez for Riverside County Fourth District Supervisor.

Are they supporting her in name only?

None of the three – Wilson, Miller or Holmes – returned Uken Report’s request for comment as to why they have chosen to endorse Harnik, a member of the Palm Desert City Council.

Their silence begs the question: What is an endorsement? Does it mean putting your name behind someone? Giving them money? Speaking out in support of them? All of that? None of that?

There was a time when Wilson “seriously considered” making a run for the seat. He stepped aside after hearing rumblings of Harnik running, Wilson told Uken Report in October.

“Jan had the quicker jump and had the organization in place,” Wilson said at the time.

For the health of the Republican Party, Wilson said he decided not to run.

“The thing about the Republicans is that we’ve run over each other and practically killed each other to gain victory rather than putting our values out there,” he said.

At that time, Wilson said he was putting “everything” he has behind Harnik.

“But,” he added, “I won’t guarantee that I won’t run against her in the future.”

Harnik started fundraising in March 2017 and formally announced her candidacy in May.

Last week, when Perez called on mayors across the Coachella and Blythe to support legislation that would increase funding for Veteran Service Officers in Riverside County, home to more than 130,000 veterans, and the state, Wilson “Liked” the Facebook post in what seemed to be a nod of agreement. Wilson has a long history of supporting veterans.

In contrast to the silent trio, Indio Mayor Pro Tem Troy Strange and Councilmember Lupe Ramos Watson are speaking out loud and proud to support Perez.

What Does an Endorsement Really Mean?

Troy Strange

“I am supporting Supervisor Manuel Perez because of his commitment to the Coachella Valley,” Strange said in a prepared statement. “He understands the unique issues facing our region, particularly the East Valley. His experience at the state and local level will allow him to effectuate progress and improve the quality of life for Valley residents.”

Lupe Ramos Watson

Lupe Ramos Watson

Ramos Watson added that, “Supervisor Manuel Perez unites people who don’t always get along together in order to get things done. He’s also a smart and committed public servant with deep roots in our Coachella Valley. Manuel and I don’t agree on every issue, but I appreciate his leadership and I am grateful for his record of accomplishments. He’s the best choice for Riverside County Supervisor.”

Perez is seeking election to the seat he now holds in the June election. In May 2017, Gov. Jerry Brown appointed Perez to the District 4 seat, which covers the Coachella Valley, until the November 2018 election. He was appointed to fill the seat left vacant in the wake of Supervisor John Benoit’s death in December 2016.

Voters will elect the supervisor in June.

The Fourth District is the largest of the county’s five districts, stretching from Desert Hot Springs to Blythe.