Returns are very slowly trickling in, but Los Angeles City Councilman Eric Garcetti and City Controller Wendy Greuel appear to be heading to a runoff.
With just over 20% of the precincts reporting, Garcetti had 34% of the vote to Greuel with 29%. Councilwoman Jan Perry is in third place at 18%. The latest results here.
That's on par with polling, and in the way that entertainment industry figures have split their loyalties between the tw candidates.
Even with much vote remaining to be counted, Garcetti and Greuel appeared before supporters just after 11 p.m. — in time for the local newscasts — and not only looked ahead to the May 21 runoff but to garnering endorsements from the rest of the field.
"Although we may not always agree, after 42 debates I know what your priorities are," Greuel said of her fellow candidates, also noting that she would be the first woman mayor of the city.
Garcetti praised Jan Perry, Kevin James and Emanuel Pleitez, and vowed to bring back "the creativity and genius that is Los Angeles."
James, who has been a registered Republican and who positioned himself as the outsider who could shake up City Hall bureaucracy, trailed far behind. An entertainment attorney and radio talk host, his candidacy didn't catch the same fire that Richard Riordan enjoyed in 1993 when he won a spot in the runoff against Mike Woo, and eventually won election.
With low turnout and low enthusiasm, expect Garcetti and Greuel to draw on entertainment industry figures to help inject a dose of energy into their races. Undoubtedly, they will continue to draw on Hollywood for dollars, along with independent committees supporting their candidacies. Steve Tisch recently contributed $25,000 to an org supporting Garcetti, while Peg Yorkin gave $10,000 and Cindy Horn gave $15,000 to an org backing Greuel.
On Los Angeles' westside, Mike Bonin appeared to be one of the few candidates from today's elections to win a seat outright. He led his opponents with more than 60% of the vote. He would succeed his boss, City Councilman Bill Rosendahl, who is retiring.