The day after mayoral candidate Wendy Greuel secured a spot in the May 21 runoff against Councilman Eric Garcetti, she won endorsements from two more public employee unions.
SEIU Local 721, which represents civilian employees at City Hall, and SEIU United Long Term Care Workers, which represents home health workers, both threw their support behind Greuel's campaign.
Greuel benefited from $2.8 million in independent spending in the primary, largely from IBEW Local 18, which represents Department of Water and Power employees, and the L.A. Police Protective League, which represents LAPD officers. Those unions are expected to continue to spend freely on her campaign in the runoff. But it was not immediately clear whether the two SEIU locals would do likewise.
“There certainly hasn't been a decision to do an independent expenditure,” said Ian Thompson, spokesman for SEIU Local 721.
Meanwhile, Councilman Eric Garcetti's campaign put out a recent internal poll, which showed him taking a 10-point lead over Greuel in the runoff. The poll was conducted Feb. 20-21. The sample size is 502 voters, and the margin of error is 4.5%. The Latino share of the sample was 25%.
The Garcetti campaign said its internal polls showed that Greuel was ahead last summer, but that Garcetti came from behind to take the top spot in the primary. The earlier poll was conducted on July 9-13, sampling 501 likely voters, with a margin of error of 4.5%. The Latino share of the sample was 23%. The July results:
Wendy Greuel 28
Eric Garcetti 25
Jan Perry 12
Kevin James 8
A July head-to-head matchup showed Greuel beating Garcetti 38-34. But in the campaign's February poll, their positions had flipped.
Eric Garcetti 24
Wendy Greuel 21
Jan Perry 17
Kevin James 14
Emanuel Pleitez 4
In the head-to-head matchup, Garcetti beat Greuel 46-36. According to the Garcetti poll, Greuel's negatives tripled from July to February.
Bill Carrick, Garcetti's strategist, said that voters had an “overwhelmingly negative reaction” to the fact that Greuel received backing from public employee unions such as IBEW Local 18.
“We think it is a lot of baggage for her to carry into the runoff,” Carrick said.
Far from distancing herself from her union backers, Greuel appeared today at a press conference with Bob Schoonover, the president of SEIU Local 721, which only served to underline her affiliation with public employees.
Greuel's backing from the two SEIU locals could help her win the support of the L.A. County Federation of Labor, which will meet and interview Garcetti and Greuel next Tuesday. The County Fed stayed neutral in the primary, but could endorse in the runoff. The Fed's support has traditionally brought an army of precinct walkers to help get out the vote on election day.
One small point about the Garcetti polls. Back in December, the Garcetti campaign held a conference call to herald the release of an LMU “exit poll” which showed Garcetti in the lead. The LMU methodology was unorthodox, at best, and the result was dismissed by other campaigns.
At the time, the Garcetti campaign claimed that their own internal polling backed up the LMU result — though the campaign declined to share their own numbers. But now we learn that Garcetti's internal polling actually showed Greuel in the lead.
The moral of the story: Don't put too much faith in what campaigns claim their internal polls show.
Update, 1 p.m.: One other note on turnout. You see a lot of hand-wringing about the 16% turnout in yesterday's election. That figure is wrong.
According to the L.A. City Clerk, there are 90,167 ballots still to be counted. That figure represents provisional and late absentee ballots in all the elections the clerk administers, including L.A. Unified and L.A. Community College District.
The clerk does not have a breakdown for the uncounted ballots that fall within L.A. city limits, but we can estimate based on ballots that have already been counted that 91% of the uncounted ballots will be from the city of L.A.
If you apply that assumption and add those ballots to the count, turnout winds up at 20.6%. Still low — but not quite as abysmal as 16%.
Needless to say, adding 80,000 ballots to the mix could change the order of finish and even the outcome in certain races.