City Councilman Eric Garcetti and Controller Wendy Greuel remained ahead of the pack in the race for mayor of Los Angeles early Wednesday morning with all city precincts reporting.
The top-two finishers in Tuesday’s election will face off in what is expected to be a bruising May 21 runoff. Only 16% of the city's 1.8 million registered voters cast ballots in the election.
Standing on a stage lined with supporters Tuesday evening, Garcetti thanked the those in the crowd for their help and said he’s ready to get to work on winning the runoff election in May. Garcetti held a slim margin over Greuel and a significant lead over the six other candidates in the mayoral race, returns showed.
INTERACTIVE MAP: How your neighborhood voted
“We have the most votes tonight, and it looks like we are heading to a runoff,” he said. “I’m ready to work as hard as it takes, I’m ready to get up as early as it takes. Tomorrow we’re going to get up, we’re going to get to work and we’re going to win this campaign.”
Greuel took the stage at 11 p.m. after being introduced by Assembly Speaker John Pérez to chants of “Wendy! Wendy! Wendy!”
“Although not all the votes are in, it sure looks good,” Greuel said. She thanked the other candidates: “After 42 debates, I know what your priorities are. In fact, I could probably recite your best lines.”
RESULTS: Los Angeles primary election
“We’re 11 weeks from making history, electing the first woman mayor,” Greuel said. “And, of course, the first mom.”
As with most elections, however, some ballots have yet to be tallied. The pool of uncounted votes usually consists of vote-by-mail ballots, including some that were turned in on election day, as well as provisional and damaged ballots.
Still, Garcetti and Greuel hold seemingly insurmountable leads over the next closest finishers -- attorney Kevin James and Councilwoman Jan Perry -- who appeared to be in a dead heat for third place, the vote count showed.
Emanuel Pleitez on Tuesday night conceded defeat as early returns showed he was capturing just a sliver of the vote.
FULL COVERAGE: L.A.'s race for mayor
"I'm feeling proud of what we accomplished, the issues we raised, the people we inspired and motivated in the city. At every turn, especially these last few days, there were people saying thank you for running, thank you for challenging the status quo," he said as he arrived at the M Bar in Boyle Heights to wait for the results with staff and supporters.
The vote for a measure to add a half-cent to the city’s sales tax appeared to lose by a wide margin, the vote tally showed. The increase, Proposition A, would bring sales taxes in Los Angeles to 9.5%, one of the highest rates in the state, and raise $200 million a year for the city treasury.