After nearly two years of campaigning, Councilman Eric Garcetti is poised for victory in the race for L.A. mayor. Just before midnight Tuesday, Garcetti addressed a cheering crowd of at least 2,000 supporters at the Hollywood Palladium, saying that while the final tally was not yet known, "this is shaping up to be a great night."
If the results hold up, Garcetti, 42, would become the youngest L.A. mayor in more than a century.
Garcetti's opponent, Wendy Greuel, has not conceded. With nearly 40% of the precinct ballots tallied, she trailed Garcetti by 6 points.
"There's still a lot of votes to be counted," said Shannon Murphy, Greuel's spokeswoman.
Many of the uncounted votes are the in the western San Fernando Valley, a largely Republican area where Garcetti's campaign was confident they would have an advantage over Greuel.
Addressing his supporters, Garcetti noted that the trend had been working in his favor all night, and he expected he would be sworn in as mayor on July 1. Garcetti said he had been an underdog whom "tonight, this city has entrusted with leadership."
Garcetti was outspent in the campaign by roughly $4 million, thanks to a deluge of independent spending on behalf of Greuel. Most of that independent money came from Working Californians, a committee led by Brian D'Arcy, the head of the Department of Water and Power union. Garcetti was able to turn that funding into Greuel's greatest liability, running $2 million worth of TV ads in the closing weeks alleging that she would "the DWP's mayor."
"We had a people-powered campaign," Garcetti told his supporters. "We had a commitment with that people power to let the voters of Los Angeles choose the next mayor, not any power brokers."
Garcetti said that voters had sent a message "that L.A. is ready to put the recession in the rearview mirror.
"If this holds, and it looks like it will, on July 1 we will assume the responsibility of creating jobs, balancing the city's budget, keeping the city's streets safe, and improving the quality of life for all Angelenos," Garcetti said.
D'Arcy has refused repeated requests to be interviewed throughout the campaign. Earlier in the day Tuesday, the Weekly attempted to seek him out at IBEW Local 18 headquarters. He refused to come to the lobby, and his secretary said he was in a meeting. Looking down from his second-floor office window, D'Arcy gave this reporter the middle finger.
D'Arcy's staff then summoned LAPD officers, who escorted this reporter to the sidewalk. As D'Arcy drove away from the building, he declined to comment: