Just before 11:30 p.m., while the L.A.'s mayor race remained much too close to call, Carmen Trutanich conceded to supporters that he'd lost his reelection attempt.
It wasn't even close. With 22 percent of precincts reporting, plus mail-in ballots, “Nuch” was down 60 percent to 40 percent — a humbling defeat for any incumbent, much less a man who once had his sights on the L.A. County District Attorney's Office.
But after getting stomped in that race last year, and tonight's far-from-close defeat, it's worth wondering whether the San Pedro native's career is over.
“Nuch” was bested by former City Councilman/state Assemblyman Mike Feuer.
In a hard-fought race to keep his seat, Trutanich earned criticism for violating his previous pledge to serve two full terms as City Attorney before running for higher office. The fact that he broke his promise only to be humiliated in the race for L.A. County District Attorney only handed more ammunition to his critics.
And that run for higher office may have damaged his brand permanently: Trutanich was criticized for his overreaching prosecutions of street artists, pot dispensary owners and political protestors. The Weekly dubbed him “Carmen the Barbarian.”
As for Feuer, the Weekly's Gene Maddaus succinctly summarized his political background in our May 10 cover story, “Carmen Trutanich Is Not a Quitter“:
Feuer earned both a bachelor's and a law degree at Harvard. From there, he clerked for a California Supreme Court justice, then got a job at an L.A. law firm with close ties to Democratic politics. At the age of 28, he was tapped to run Bet Tzedek Legal Services, a public-interest law firm. Eight years later, he won a seat on the City Council, representing the Westside.
In 2001, Feuer ran for city attorney, narrowly losing to Rocky Delgadillo. He then served three terms in the state Assembly. Anticipating that he would be termed out in 2012, he started raising money to run for city attorney again.
Like most people, Feuer, 54, expected that Trutanich would be elected district attorney, leaving an open seat. But when Trutanich unexpectedly lost and decided he wanted to keep his job as city attorney, Feuer had to decide whether to face an incumbent.
“It took about a second to decide to stay in the race,” he says.
Tonight, that decision definitely looks like a smart one.
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