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Can Garcetti tap multicultural L.A. to become mayor? [Video Discussion]

January 3, 2013 |  3:40 pm

Times Political Writer Michael Finnegan will discuss the L.A. mayoral candidacy of Councilman Eric Garcetti during a Google+ Hangout at 4:30 p.m.

Finnegan profiled Garcetti in today's paper:

A top contender to succeed Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Garcetti prides himself on his ease with the city's diverse cultures. He sees his mixed ancestry ("I have an Italian last name, and I'm half Mexican and half Jewish," he says) as a powerful part of his appeal in a city where voters for decades have split along racial and ethnic lines in mayoral elections.

But as the campaign begins to capture public attention, a big question is whether Garcetti can re-create the surge of Latino support that helped secure Villaraigosa's historic election eight years ago as the first Latino mayor of modern Los Angeles.

Garcetti, whose district includes Silver Lake and Echo Park, is counting on strong support citywide from Latinos and liberals, buttressed by scattered support from other groups. Weaving a multiethnic tapestry of voters will be crucial to offsetting his opponents' strengths, such as San Fernando Valley white voters who tend to turn out heavily in local elections and might favor City Controller Wendy Greuel, who previously represented the area on the City Council.

It's no small challenge. Greuel and City Councilwoman Jan Perry of South Los Angeles each aspire to be the first woman elected mayor of Los Angeles, another historical marker that could spark — to Garcetti's detriment — the kind of enthusiasm that carried Villaraigosa into office.

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