Updated after the jump: Competitor Jose Huizar one-ups Martinez. Originally posted at 1:52 p.m.

Finally — an L.A. City Council candidate who can rack up airline miles on his own credit card, instead of mooching off the public fund.

With a $202,620 campaign budget — $150,000 of which came from his own pocket — TV personality and man-about-town Rudy Martinez might actually have the means to shake voters from their sleepy allegiance to Council District 14 shoo-in Jose Huizar next May.

While Huizar was fuddling around in Boyle Heights housing projects, go-getter Martinez sauntered in:

The District 14 candidate in the army reserves

The District 14 candidate in the army reserves

He's got reality-show dimples and an entrepreneur's edge. Martinez owns several restaurants in the district and rakes in gobs more as a star home renovator on A&E. (His sudden traipse into politics almost reminds us of a certain eBay whore, only with some street cred. And a heart.)

As of June 30, Martinez's campaign budget was still trailing Huizar's by $126,825. Now, his fashionably late entrance as a plausible winner has got to have councilmembers shaking in their overheated seats. They've been practically going to seed up in City Hall, voting unanimously 99.993% of the time and making sure no salary gets left behind.

Indeed, as Mayor Sam reported on Monday, Huizar is waxing desperate in the face of Martinez's growing threat: The fun-loving family man has turned territorial bully, banning his opponent from two District 14 parades. (Whatever happened to community togetherness?)

Of course, Huizar's camp won't update his spending report until the last possible second — midnight tonight — but no matter the ante, Martinez remains one fat cat of an underdog.

Update: Realizing he was making himself look like a sketchy politician again, Huizar released his totals earlier than expected today. Including money he's already spent, his campaign will cost $203,274 — a mere $654 more than Martinez.

LA Weekly