Latino Vote Crucial for L.A. City Hall Candidates
With nearly one in three people in the L.A. electorate claiming Latino heritage, the city election Tuesday could be decided by the brown vote.
So says the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO), which notes that 29 percent of registered voters in Los Angeles are Latino.
The organization recently broke down some data on the Latino electorate for the May 21 contest, which will see Wendy Greuel take on Eric Garcetti for mayor, Carmen Trutanich versus Mike Feuer for city attorney, and a few match-ups for City Council:
--Latinos comprise 48 percent of the city's population and represent the largest ethnic group in L.A.
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--Between 2000 and 2010, Latino population growth in town was 7 percent -- the largest rate of any ethnic group.
--The youngest voting block in L.A., the 18-24 group, is twice as large for Latinos (16 percent of their electorate) as for non-Latinos.
--42 percent of Latino voters are immigrants; for non-Latinos who were born in other countries, that number is 21 percent.
--There are six municipal elected officials and two L.A. Unified School Board members who are Latino.
--62 percent of registered Latino voters are Democrats, 11 percent are Republicans, and 27 percent "decline to state."
The big question is, who will Latinos back in the mayoral race? After all, when Antonio Villaraigosa got the job in 2005, the choice was clear for many: He would be the first Latino in the mayor's office since the 19th century.
Still, Villaraigosa relied on an Eastside base while patching together a coalition of South L.A. African-Americans, Westside liberals, Jewish voters and Hollywood industry supporters.
Eric Garcetti has some of that chemistry and plays up his grandparents' immigration from Mexico.
Greuel, who worked for L.A.'s first and only African-American mayor, Tom Bradley, just announced this week that Robert Olivarez, the chair of the Latino Democrats of SoCal, withdrew his endorsement of Garcetti in favor of her.
NALEO's not choosing sides. Arturo Vargas, the group's educational fund executive director:
The Latino electorate is poised to play a decisive role in the outcome of Los Angeles' upcoming mayoral and municipal elections. The stakes are high and our organization will be working diligently in the coming days to ensure that the Latino community and its voters have the information necessary to elect the candidates of their choice this election.
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