The mood was said to be 'upbeat' in Studio City at Carmen Trutanich's election party Tuesday night, despite the 6,000 lb gorilla in the room; nobody of any significance showed up.
The small group of family members and loyal supporters at Roco's Pizza rocked the night away putting a brave face on results that put Trutanich in second place, but spell doom in the runoff on May 21. Trutanich was well adrift of his rival, Mike Feuer, who came within 6 points of winning he election outright. Significantly, no big names in LA politics were anywhere to be seen at Trutanich's party, perhaps a sign that those in the know realize that his re-election hopes are all but over.
For Trutanich it's a long downhill road from his 2009 primary election party when DAs Steve Cooley and Robert Philibosian co-hosted the event, attended by Sheriff Lee Baca, Councilmember Dennis Zine, and a host of leading LA civic leaders willing show their support.
Four years later, the big names stayed far, far away. A photo gallery published by the LA Daily News revealed just how alone and unwanted Carmen 'I am a lair' Trutanich now is. He only had his family (who live on his salary), and a handful of supporters in attendance to witness the slow-motion train wreck that is the Trutanich re-election campaign. When the vote-counting was done, long after the party ended, Trutanich was 14 points behind frontrunner Mike Feuer, who did so well that he actually came within 6 points of winning the primary election outright.
According to the LA Times, Trutanich and Feuer have wasted no time in 'gearing up' their campaigns for the runoff election. Feuer is doubtless cashing in on the pledges of support donors made when he was unable to accept more campaign contributions after he reached the campaign finance limit. He will likely easily raise the maximum for the runoff, buoyed by his strong showing in the primary. More importantly, he will also likely benefit from huge independent expenditures from fence-sitting groups like the Police Protective League who were waiting to see just how damaged Trutanich was. Now they know.
Over at the Trutanich camp, the 'gearing up' is likely falling on deaf ears. Raising money to try to challenge Feuer is going to be an uphill, if not impossible, struggle. As KABC talk show host Doug McIntyre said 'Once you've got the big 'L' for 'LOSER,' the scarlet 'L' tagged on you, it's real hard to get anybody to write fresh checks.'
Trutanich also cannot count on former supporters like DA Steve Cooley to stand by him. The rift between the two started when Trutanich ignored advice from Cooley not to run for DA in violation of his promise to voters, something Cooley said was 'very telling' and that the promise was too important to be dismissed as a mere 'campaign ploy.'
The rift is understood to have become 'irreparable' after Trutanich reported Cooley to Attorney General Kamala Harris, claiming his DA personnel file had been deliberately mislaid. Trutanich falsely accused Cooley of 'suspicious political activity' implying that his DA file would support his false claim to have been 'surrounded and shot at by gang members' during his short career as a prosecutor in the 1980's. Unfortunately for Trutanich, the LA Times proved that he had known his file was missing four years before he complained about it.
Trutanich, in a desperate bid to distance himself from the string of false claims that marked him as 'truth challenged,' has recently attempted to blame his former campaign consultant for 'bad political advice.' However, Trutanich never once repudiated those false claims, nor has he apologized for them.
The loss of Cooley as a supporter is likely terminal to Trutanich's political aspirations. In 2009, Trutanich took full advantage of the respectability and credibility Cooley brought to his candidacy, using Cooley to co-chair fundraising that yielded close to $3M in the campaign. Left to his own devices, Trutanich raised just $337,035 in monetary contributions for his reelection campaign.
Stripped of credible supporters and still bruised from his humiliating defeat in the June 2012 primary election for District Attorney, Trutanich looks set to make political history in Los Angeles; he'll be the first incumbent City Attorney to lose his position, and he'll be the first elected official to lose two elections in less than one year.
The May 21, 2013 runoff election is fast approaching, and front runner Mike Feuer looks set to out-raise and out-perfom Trutanich again.