Information about candidates and issues in the May 21 Southern California elections

LA Mayoral Candidates Greuel, Garcetti Headed for May Runoff

The city councilmember faces the city controller in a May runoff for the mayor's office

By Samantha Tata and Jonathan Lloyd
|  Wednesday, Mar 6, 2013  |  Updated 9:15 AM PDT
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LA mayoral candidates Wendy Greuel and Eric Garcetti are setting the stage for a May runoff. NBC4's Toni Guinyard reports on

LA mayoral candidates Wendy Greuel and Eric Garcetti are setting the stage for a May runoff. NBC4's Toni Guinyard reports on "Today in LA." This clip is from "Today in LA" on March 6, 2013.

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Councilman Eric Garcetti and City Controller Wendy Greuel appear headed for a May 21 runoff in the race to replace term-limited Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

As of 5 a.m. Wednesday, Garcetti had 33 percent of the vote and Greuel garnered about 29 percent, with 100 percent of the precincts reporting, according to the Los Angeles City Clerk. Councilwoman Jan Perry and former prosecutor Kevin James trailed behind the pair with 16 percent apiece

A runoff election is necessary because no candidate secured more than 50 percent of the votes in Tuesday’s Los Angeles primary nominating election.

"It's not about ideology, it's about effectiveness," said Garcetti. "This is about getting the job done."

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If elected, Greuel would become the city's first female mayor; Garcetti would become LA's first Jewish mayor.

"Los Angeles deserves tough and strong leadership -- a leader tough enough to root out waste, fraud and abuse at City Hall," Greuel said.

Schools, the city's budget deficit, unemployment, pension and health care costs, and a runway reconfiguration at Los Angeles International Airport were some of the top issues in the run-up to the election.

The Los Angeles mayor presides over a roughly $7 billion budget, but it's a notoriously weak office hemmed in by a powerful City Council. Unlike other big cities, such as New York, the Los Angeles mayor cannot directly appoint the head of schools or police.

As of January, there were more than 1,812,000 registered voters in Los Angeles, but turnout was expected to be low.

Outgoing Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's 2005 election made him LA's first Hispanic mayor since 1872, but this year's contest has followed a more familiar pattern. Angelenos are known to give local politics a collective shrug – even turnout in Villaraigosa's closely contested primary in 2005 failed to reach 30 percent.

The mayor was re-elected in 2009 with a meager 152,000 votes, in a city of nearly 4 million people. He leaves office midyear.

Voters on Tuesday selected from a field of eight candidates, including Perry, 57; James, 49, a Republican; technology executive Emanuel Pleitez, 30; neighborhood council secretary, Yehuda "YJ" Draiman, 63; citywide advocate Addie M. Miller, 63; and factory production worker Norton Sandler, 67.

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