Councilmember Eric Garcetti’s two-year campaign to become Los Angeles’ first Jewish-Mexican-Italian-American mayor ended in victory early this morning when his challenger, City Controller Wendy Greuel, phoned the candidate shortly before 2 a.m. to concede.
A preliminary count released by the L.A. City Clerk’s office put the margin of victory at eight points, with Garcetti taking 53.92 percent to Gruel’s 46.07 percent. Those numbers mirrored an unofficial Loyola Marymount exit poll taken earlier on Tuesday.
With 380,108 total votes cast, Garcetti’s victory comes amid one of the lowest voter turnouts ever for an L.A. mayor’s race, with a mere 19 percent of registered voters bothering to cast a ballot.
Early returns had Greuel out in front by a slim two-point margin. And while the Garcetti camp remained publicly confident throughout the evening, campaign insiders were nervously eying their smart phones, worried that an especially low turnout could result in the kind of squeaker that would deny their candidate a definitive win until the City Clerk’s official tally three weeks from now.
In other city races, former Assemblymember Mike Feuer ousted incumbent Carmen Trutanich for city attorney, while outgoing Councilmember Dennis Zine was defeated by Ron Galperin for city controller. None of the City Council contests proved particularly close, with former State Senator Gil Cedillo (District 1), former Assemblymember Cindy Montanez (District 6), former State Senator Curren Price (District 9) and former Garcetti aide Mitch O’Farrell (District 13) winning comfortably.
The biggest surprise of the night may have been the victory by Monica Ratliff over Antonio Sanchez for L.A. School Board District 6, given Sanchez’s huge fundraising advantage. Meanwhile, Measure D trumped the two other medical marijuana measures, while the pro-campaign reform Measure C passed easily.