We thought we'd make it to the weekend without doing another Carmen Trutanich post, but it was not to be. This afternoon, Trutanich announced that he has pulled papers to run for re-election as city attorney.
Trutanich has retained the services of Rick Taylor, a lobbyist and occasional political consultant, as his campaign strategist. Taylor replaces John Shallman, the strategist behind Trutanich's third-place finish in the D.A. campaign, with whom Trutanich has had a bitter falling out.
Taylor has his work cut out for him, according to some polling data the Weekly recently obtained...
John Thomas, the consultant behind the Alan Jackson D.A. campaign, forwarded some research this week that puts Trutanich's favorability rating in net-negative territory.
According to the poll, Trutanich was at breakeven in February (15% favorable, 14% unfavorable, with the rest saying, "Who's that?"). But after his failed D.A. bid, the numbers have moved to 15% favorable, 19% unfavorable. That's actually hard to do, and suggests that some image rehab is urgently needed.
The numbers are actually worse when you look at job approval. On that question, 17% give him a positive rating, and 43% give him a negative rating. Those are countywide numbers -- Thomas was polling for the November D.A. race -- but if you look at the results only within the City of L.A., it gets slightly worse: 22% positive, 49% negative. (Pollster: Jill Normington of Normington, Petts & Associates. 500 respondents countywide, 193 respondents in L.A.)
Taylor is going to have to turn that around by March, when Trutanich will face Greg Smith and the well-financed Assemblyman Mike Feuer.
"He's got a pretty good record that has not been communicated in a way that has reached the voters," says Taylor. "We're going to run a campaign to make sure people know who he is and what his record is."
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It would, of course, be a mistake to count him out. He's the incumbent, and that counts for a lot, especially in fundraising terms. But Feuer seems to be planning to run an aggressive campaign, targeting both Trutanich's priorities in office and his reputation for shading the truth. In a statement yesterday, Feuer's campaign vowed to "bring honesty, clarity and vision back to the City Attorney's office."
After Trutanich filed papers today, Feuer issued another broadside:
"I'm looking forward to an exciting campaign. The people of Los Angeles deserve a City Attorney focused on innovative solutions to our toughest problems--like too many gangs, too much gun violence, and too few jobs. Our next City Attorney must prioritize making our neighborhoods secure, improving our day-to-day quality of life and inspiring confidence and trust in city government."
Feuer's consultant is John Shallman, so this could get personal in a hurry.