The two primary contenders for the Los Angeles mayor's seat are a woman and an Italian-Mexican-Jewish man. Both are Democrats and, if elected, either one would be an ethnic "first" for the city. According to a Mar. 5 article in the LA Times, today's extremely low voter turnout could overshadow the primary contender's appeal and change the race entirely. The Los Angeles mayor’s seat is under term limits and current mayor Antonio Villaraigosa cannot run. Los Angeles is an overwhelmingly Democratic Party city, so a Republican mayor would be a long shot.
The two leading candidates are Democrats Wendy Greuel and Eric Garcetti. Polls have them both within the margin of error for a tie, which makes voter turnout a critical matter. Today's election will lead to other sweeping leadership changes in America's second largest city. The city attorney, city controller, and eight City Council members are also being challenged to retain their seats.
Eric Garcetti is the descendant of Italians who immigrated to Mexico, but never mixed with the "Mestizo" or native Mexican people. Still, his grandfather was a Mexican judge and the family immigrated from Mexico to the U.S., where Eric was born. His father is former Los Angeles District Attorney, Gil Garcetti. His mother is Sukey Roth and she is of Russian-Jewish descent. Los Angeles has a massive Latino population, many of whom question Garcetti's standing as a true representative of the Mexican-American community.
City Controller Wendy Greuel is the daughter of a Christian church founder and was the persistent controller who went after LA's unpaid parking tickets, unpaid taxes and fraud, waste and abuse. She appeals to a broad base of voters who hope she can guide the city through its many fiscal and social challenges. Greuel is married to Dean Schramm, who is an executive producer. "Darfur Now is one of his major films."
If no candidate earns a majority vote today, the top two contenders will face a runoff election in May.