With the top two candidates in the LA mayor’s race coming within a few percentage points of each other, a close race is anticipated for the May runoff. The campaigns of City Councilman Eric Garcetti and City Controller Wendy Greuel will focus on two groups of voters – those who voted for the other candidates in the race, especially the two other major candidates, Kevin James and Jan Perry, and those who did not vote, 84% of the registered voters.

Since it is likely that the voter apathy will extend to the May 21 runoff, each candidate will make every effort to secure as many of the James and Perry voters as possible.

Garcetti and Greuel have similar positions on many issues. James ran as an outsider; Perry as a business friendly candidate, so it will be interesting to see how the runoff candidates fashion their messages to lure the James and Perry voters.

A pre-election poll indicated that the James and Perry votes would split evenly between Garcetti and Greuel.

A look at the colorful Los Angeles Times map of candidate support by precinct shows an interesting pattern. Garcetti’s strength occurred across what might be termed the belt-line, or the geographical center of the city from the West Side to the East Side. Greuel strength was in her native San Fernando Valley.

Jan Perry scored heavily in the South Side of Los Angeles. Kevin James showed strength in the West San Fernando Valley.

Greuel’s strong ties to the Valley might indicate she could pick up the James votes there. Where Perry’s South Side voters go is less certain. The voter map appears to indicate that Garcetti found a swath of voters there. Greuel captured a majority of the precincts in the city’s harbor region.

The more conservative and business oriented vote will be looking for a new champion. Greuel would seem to have an inside track on these voters because of her history; however, her close ties with the public employee unions in the election may change some minds. The day following the primary, Greuel cemented her position as the public unions’ candidate when she was endorsed by the local SEIU.

The key to this potential nail-biting election may be the ability of either candidate to motivate a good number of those voters who sat out the primary.