While Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa won, as expected, his poor showing, and the humiliating possible defeat of solar Measure B, was a repudiation by Los Angeles voters and indicates tough sailing if he decides to run for governor.
While surprisingly biased cheerleading for the mayor continued today from the LA Daily News, and Jonathan Lloyd's MSNBC, who both called his too-close-for-comfort victory a “cruise,” blogs like LAist got it right: just 5 percentage points more for his several opponents would have forced Antonio Villaraigosa into a face-losing runoff.
And Villaraigosa's Measure B solar plan is heading for defeat, with 1,322 more No votes than Yes, and provisional ballots (by people who just moved or went to the wrong polling place, as I did), still being counted. How strange to see the highly sophisticated, well-oiled, insider campaign for Measure B last night prematurely claim victory in an inaccurate, crowing press release at 11:36 pm emailed out by PR types Sarah Leonard and Ellie Wallace. Who on earth approved that bungled press release?
As we pointed out late last night, with an eye to his desire to be governor, Villaraigosa outspent all his rivals by orders of magnitude that are positively Hubble Telescopian. Yet instead of wiping them out, he got a wan victory. For comparison, the mayor of Denver won a landslide reelection less than two years ago with 88%, and Michael Bloomberg in 2005 beat the very well-funded Fernando Ferrer by about 20 percentage points, with a 58.4% victory.
Then there was the poor showing by Jack Weiss. He had not been expected to win 50% plus one vote outright, so a runoff was widely expected. Yet this City Hall insider, with Villaraigosa's strong backing, could do no better than 36.47% against newcomer Carmen Trutanich's 26.93%. Those two will now face off in the May election, with Weiss having to prove that his many years spent on the City Council, and not spent practicing law, haven't left him rusty.
As we predicted in our investigative peek at the Los Angeles City Council a few days ago, the city council incumbents all won easily, in a coronation-like atmosphere. Another big win went to Wendy Greuel, who beat Nick Patsaouras and Kathleen Suzy Evans in a landslide to become City Controller, with 65.21% of the vote.
There is still one cliffhanger race left, for those wondering whether LAUSD and the Los Angeles School Board will ever get their act together. Mayoral pick Nury Martinez was ahead by only a hair, beating Louis Pugliese in a race still too close to call. That looks like another message from voters to Villaraigosa, who backed the politically connected non-educator Martinez over Pugliese, a respected longtime educator who had to campaign without the special interest help that Villaraigosa's allies and unions showered on Martinez.