Los Angeles mayoral candidate Eric Garcetti said Friday that Wendy Greuel’s dwindling campaign treasury would only bolster his argument that her campaign is being sustained by the independent spending on her behalf.
With 11 days left before the May 21 runoff election, City Councilman Garcetti’s latest campaign finance report shows that he has 10 times as much cash-on-hand as his rival, who reported $275,000 in her bank account and debts of nearly $535,000.
“She’s now broke,” Garcetti said after appearing at a Mexican Mother’s Day event at San Antonio Winery in Lincoln Heights with telenovela star Jaime Camil, whose surprise appearance brought gasps from the women assembled for the luncheon. “This happened also in the primary where she spent her money early and wasn’t left with much in the end.”
“I’m now officially running against the (Department of Water and Power) union-funded super PAC,” said Garcetti, who reported about $2.3 million in cash for the final stretch. “Obviously there’s other expenditures -- [former Dodgers owner] Frank McCourt, the police union, etc. -- but it’s pretty crystal clear.”
At the same time, City Controller Greuel got some welcome news on Thursday in a Cal State Los Angeles poll that showed the two candidates in a dead heat several weeks after a USC Price/L.A. Times poll showed Garcetti leading Greuel by 10 points. This week’s poll by the Pat Brown Institute of Public Affairs at Cal State L.A. shows the two candidates within the margin of error—46% of likely voters supporting Greuel, compared with 45% backing Garcetti and 9% undecided.
Garcetti attributed Greuel’s surge to “two weeks and a lot of money” spent on negative ads” by her campaign and outside groups.
“When you spend that amount of money on negative attack ads it’s a proven and cynical technique to come back,” he said. “But in the last two weeks we’re going to finish very strong.”
Greuel consultant John Shallman insisted that the controller's campaign would have enough resources to communicate with voters right up to election day, and had concentrated on swaying the many Angelenos who are already voting by mail.
Greuel, who would be the city’s first female mayor, is now leading Garcetti among women by a double-digit margin and is showing considerable strength among both white and African American voters, according to the Cal State L.A. poll. Garcetti had a 12-point lead among Latino voters.
The councilman asked some of his female supporters for help energizing voters in the final days of the race during Friday’s Mother’s Day lunch, where he spoke of his grandmother’s example and her long days working at a meat-packing plant.
“Women move mountains every day,” said Garcetti, who addressed the audience in English and Spanish. “In this city we need to make sure that all the mothers of Los Angeles know that our best days are ahead of us. That they deserve for their children and their grandchildren good schools in our neighborhoods; parks within walking distance; healthy communities where you can get good food to feed your children at a reasonable price; and jobs—jobs that support our families—and that’s what I bring to this race, not attacks, but accomplishments.”
Along with Camil, Garcetti appeared at the luncheon with his mother Sukey, his wife, Amy Wakeland, and their 1-year-old daughter, Maya Juanita. He toasted the women with a sparkling Orange Moscato, and he and Camil, a Mexican-Brazilian actor who starred in several telenovelas, handed out pink long-stemmed roses to guests.
“The greatest compliment that I’ve ever been paid by my own daughter is that she calls me ‘Mama,’” Garcetti said to applause.