Scoring the L.A. Election

Joel Fox
Editor of Fox & Hounds and President of the Small Business Action Committee

With preliminary counts in from the Los Angeles election, it appears that about 84% of the registered voters in the city don’t care who becomes the city’s next mayor. The voter turnout was a paltry 16% (just under 321,000 votes out of 1.8 million registered voters), slightly down from the last mayoral election when Antonio Villaraigosa ran for re-election.

Elsewhere on this page Joe Mathews makes an argument for why the turnout was so low – not a record low, by the way. A couple of elections back only 11% of the registered voters cast a ballot.

The city should consider running the mayoral election with other major elections such as the presidential or gubernatorial elections, which produce greater turnouts. The argument opposed to this view is that the candidates for mayor would be lost in such elections. With a meager 16% turnout, it doesn’t appear too many people are paying attention now. Voters are probably burned out after the intense November ballot battles.

For those who did vote, the outsiders and more business oriented candidates for mayor would have been in contention for a run-off spot — if they were one candidate instead of two. Attorney Kevin James (at 16.3%) and Councilwoman Jan Perry  (at 15.9%) totaled 32.2% of the vote. Top two finishers Councilman Eric Garcetti leads at this time with 32.9% and City Controller Wendy Greuel tallied 29.1%. They will face each other in a May 21 runoff.

Proposition A, the half-cent sales tax, went down to defeat at 45% Yes, 55% No.

The business community was split on the tax measure with the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce in favor, the Valley Industry and Commerce Association opposed, and the Los Angeles County Business Federation neutral.

The L.A. election will affect the workings of the legislature with Assemblyman and Assembly Budget Chair, Bob Blumenfield, apparently securing enough votes to win a city council seat outright. However, Senator Curren Price will be in a runoff for a council seat.

Former Assembly members Felipe Fuentes and Mike Eng appear to have won outright the seats they sought; Fuentes on the city council, Eng on the community college board.

However, despite getting assistance from Governor Jerry Brown, former state senator and assemblyman Gil Cedillo may be headed to a runoff in his race for city council. As of this writing, Cedillo has 49.37% of the vote against Jose Gardea – just shy of the magic 50% plus one that would avoid a runoff. Counting final ballots will determine if Cedillo and Gardea will meet again in May. Gardea captured 43% of the vote.

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