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L.A. County Democrats fail to endorse in L.A. mayor's race

March 12, 2013 |  9:01 pm

A deep division among Los Angeles County Democratic delegates over who should be their choice in the Los Angeles mayor's race once again resulted in no endorsement after a close vote Tuesday night.

Under L.A. County Democratic Party rules, one of the two mayoral runoff candidates, Eric Garcetti and Wendy Greuel, would have needed to win 60% of the 195 votes cast during the party's meeting at the United Teachers of Los Angeles building in Koreatown. But both fell short of that mark.

The candidates needed 117 votes. Garcetti won 105 votes to Greuel's 81 votes, and another nine delegates favored "no endorsement." When the final "no endorsement" decision was announced, there was an audible groan from some of the delegates, who include members of the state Assembly and Senate, as well as local officials and the seven delegates who are elected in each of the county’s 24 Assembly districts.

During the primary race, neither Garcetti or Greuel was able to muster the 60% of the vote needed for the party’s endorsement.

Both Garcetti and Greuel have made a major push for the county party’s endorsement in recent days. Garcetti touted his backing from former California Party Democratic Chairman Art Torres at a news conference Monday in the San Fernando Valley. They each made countless calls to Democratic Party delegates asking for their support.

One delegate said Garcetti and Greuel had both called her repeatedly to say they hoped they could count on her vote as “a close personal friend.” She and others described the vote as a difficult one because both candidates have been “such good Democrats.”

The vote came on a day in which Greuel won the critical backing of the political committee of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor — which required winning the support of two-thirds of the committee’s members. The decision must be ratified by the federation’s executive committee and delegates in the next few weeks, but those steps are viewed as procedural.

The backing of the federation, which represents about 600,000 workers, could be a huge boon to the Greuel campaign because of the organization’s ability to bankroll an expensive campaign to turn out the vote on her behalf and communicate with its members. But its support has not always meant success for its candidates. The federation spent about $373,000 on mailers and other expenses to turn out its members in 2005 for then-mayor James Hahn, who lost to Antonio Villaraigosa.

On Tuesday, Garcetti noted his labor support from diverse groups including United Teachers Los Angeles, Teamsters Joint Council 42 and Laborers’ Local 300, which represents construction workers.

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-- Maeve Reston

Twitter: @maevereston

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