By Seema Mehta
10:21 AM PDT, May 20, 2013
As the two-year campaign to be Los Angeles' next mayor draws to a close, the candidates spent the weekend furiously courting voters across the city, trying to avoid the potential lowest turnout for an open mayoral seat in modern history. Wendy Greuel and Eric Garcetti presented their closing case to voters at churches, a pizza parlor and a bowling alley.
The frenzy of activity occurred as spending passed the $33-million mark on Saturday, breaking previous records as unlimited outlays by independent donors and "super PACs" continued to play a dominant role in Tuesday’s contest. In the campaign’s final days, Garcetti vastly outspent Greuel on the airwaves and other campaign efforts, but Greuel had far more support from the outside groups.
A new poll by the Los Angeles Times and USC showed Garcetti’s lead over Greuel narrowing, and Greuel struggling to secure her San Fernando Valley base, which is viewed as critical to her chances on Tuesday.
The Los Angeles Times visited mid-Wilshire, the only city neighborhood that has consistently picked a winner in the last six primary and runoff mayoral elections. Greuel and Garcetti both have their supporters there, but many voiced an indifference about the race that has been evident citywide.
Garcetti and Greuel both have promised to make addressing traffic congestion and transportation needs a priority, but experts note differences in how each would approach the problems.
In other races, an ally of incumbent City Atty. Carmen Trutanich filed an ethics complaint against challenger Mike Feuer. The race to replace Councilman Ed Reyes in the central area of the city has garnered four times the money of previous races in the 1st district. The two apparent-front-runners to replace Councilman Tony Cardenas are both women, offering the best shot of electing a woman to the overwhelmingly male council. The race for a pivotal school board seat is pitting political savvy against educational skills.
Times columnist Steve Lopez implores Angelenos to cast ballots on Tuesday.
To find your polling place, visit http://clerk.lacity.org/Elections/ or call (213) 978-0444, (888) 873-1000 or (562) 466-1310.
Comments, questions or tips on city elections? Tweet me at @LATSeema.
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