L.A. Now

L.A.'s mayoral race fundraising passes $3.7 million

Campaign fundraising in the 2013 Los Angeles mayor's race has already exceeded $3.7 million, with the election still more than a year away.

L.A. City Controller Wendy Greuel and City Councilman Eric Garcetti led the pack of candidates seeking to replace Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, topping $1 million in total donations to their respective campaigns, new reports show.

Greuel raised $1.1 million last year, edging ahead of Garcetti, who reported $1,062,815 for the six-month period ending Dec. 31. Tuesday was the deadline to file reports with the city Ethics Commission. Villaraigosa must leave office because of term limits.

Councilwoman Jan Perry raised nearly $827,000, while former Villaraigosa "job czar" Austin Beutner took in roughly $627,000. Radio host Kevin James has reported raising more than $154,000.

Garcetti campaign consultant Bill Carrick said his client had done exceptionally well since announcing his mayoral bid in September. Perry, Greuel and Beutner began fundraising last spring.

"We've raised at a much faster clip than any of them," Carrick said.

Beutner downplayed his fundraising results and disparaged the practice of boasting about campaign funds.

"The very ritual of bragging about money raised by politicians from special interests they are supposed to oversee or regulate is one of the reasons why so little changes in our city," he said in a statement.

John Shallman, lead strategist for Greuel, said her relatively strong fundraising was a sign of momentum. In a statement, Eric Hacopian, a consultant to Perry, described his client as the only reformer in the campaign, saying she is "tough enough to take on the old boys' network at City Hall."

Much of Perry's money came from real estate interests that have done business with the city, including AIMCO Properties, Bisno Development Co. and developer Ruben Islas. She also received $3,000 from three partners with Delson Investments, which owns historic theaters on Broadway in downtown.

Greuel also took contributions from AIMCO and Delson executives, as well as $1,000 apiece from director Steven Spielberg, former parks commissioner Candy Spelling, and entertainer Bill Maher. She also received $4,000 from the family of former harbor commissioner Nick Tonsich, an appointee of Mayor James Hahn.

Garcetti picked up a series of contributions from business interests in Hollywood, which is in his council district. He took $1,000 apiece from such varied donors as former Clinton White House Chief of Staff John Podesta, author Lisa See, actor Jake Gyllenhaal and Panda Express restaurant executive Andrew Cherng.

Beutner relied heavily on donations from lawyers, talent agents, venture capitalists and real estate executives. He received $1,000 from Hollywood producer Jerry Bruckheimer and $1,000 from real estate executive Bruce Karatz, whose son worked for Beutner in the mayor's office and now heads Villaraigosa's business team.

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