L.A. mayor's election: 'It could be a long night,' Jan Perry says
When the first results of the mayoral primary came in Tuesday night, about 100 people had already filtered into Mercado La Paloma for Jan Perry's election-night party.
Numbers from mail-in ballots flashed onto a pull-down screen as partygoers formed a half-circle to watch. Some squinted at the data, trying to read the thin fonts and small graphs.
Data from the city clerk showed Perry in third place with 19.1% of the vote, trailing front-runners Eric Garcetti, who had 31.2%, and Wendy Greuel, who had 30.9%.
"It's early still," Perry told supporters and journalists not long afterward. "And it looks like it could be a long night."
Perry also said she was surprised that seemingly so few people cast ballots Tuesday. Turnout by the city's 1.8 million registered voters is expected by some political observers to be below the 34% seen in 2005, when Antonio Villaraigosa was elected.
"I'm actually kind of surprised," Perry said. "For all the millions of dollars that were spent, for that to not turn into turnout, that must mean something."
Perry said she had been outspent 14 to 1 in the primary race. She has banked on grassroots support from her district during her mayoral bid.
The location of Mercado La Paloma holds special significance for Perry, who represents the 9th District on the City Council.
During her tenure on the council, Perry fought for better economic opportunities and led initiatives to combat obesity in downtown and South L.A.
Perry has been on the council since 2001 and cannot run again.
Mercado La Paloma is a marketplace near USC that provides low-rent spaces to local business owners. Vendors sell food, groceries and goods from Central America.
On Tuesday night, businesses at Mercado La Paloma stayed open late to serve coffee to exhausted campaign workers and snacks to supplement the party food.
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-- Laura J. Nelson
Photo:Jan Perry greets her supporters during her election night party at Mercado La Paloma in Los Angeles Tuesday. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times