L.A. Votes: Runoff rivals dash for cash; Villaraigosa says budget not so bleak
The two candidates who earned a spot in the runoff to be Los Angeles’ next mayor have little time to savor their victory. Wendy Greuel and Eric Garcetti must immediately start raising money, because unlike in state and federal elections, they were prohibited for raising money for the general election during the primary.
And they weren’t allowed to reserve any of the millions of dollars they raised in the primary for the runoff, meaning the candidates started raising new funds within hours of the polls closing Tuesday. Garcetti sent off an email missive before he went to sleep that night, and also one targeting donors who had contributed the maximum of $1,300 in the primary. The morning after, Greuel launched a 72-hour grass-roots fundraising drive urging supporters to “be one of the first” to support the city controller in the general election.
But the independent committees backing their bids face no such restrictions, giving Greuel both a potential financial boost and a messaging problem. The main independent group supporting her is up-and-running, but largely backed by city employee unions, a connection that troubles some voters.
The termed-out mayor that Greuel and Garcetti are vying to replace, Antonio Villaraigosa has not weighed in on the contest, but said Thursday that he plans to take a “real close look” at both of the candidates.
Villaraigosa was a major proponent of a measure--rejected by voters--to increase the sales tax. Backers said the half-cent hike was vital to avoiding cuts to critical city services. On Thursday, two days after the measure's defeat, Villaraigosa said the city’s deficit didn’t look so bad after all.
-- Seema Mehta
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Photo: Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Credit: Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times