Who will replace Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa?
LOS ANGELES (KTLA) — After months of campaigning, decision day has finally arrived in the race to replace Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
The candidates have made last-minute “get out of vote” efforts to connect with undecided voters.
Polls over the weekend showed that many people had not yet decided who they were going to vote for going into election day.
The frontrunners in the race are City Controller Wendy Gruel and Eric Garcetti, the former president of the Los Angeles City Council.
Gruel claims she dug up $160 million in waste, fraud and abuse. She has the support and financial backing of city unions.
Polls have her about tied with Councilmember Garcetti, who boasts about turning Hollywood around with redevelopment projects.
Both candidates have similar views on a lot of issues.
Critics say they both bare some of the blame for L.A.’s massive budget deficit, since both have been in office for the last decade.
Gruel has the backing of the IBEW union, which represents LADWP workers and is very powerful.
It is spending $2 million to help her win, and that has become an issue during the campaign.
“I’ve audited Department of Water and Power more than any other city department,” Gruel told KTLA on Monday at the produce market downtown.
Asked if the union expects something in return for the money it is spending on her campaign, Gruel replied, “Absolutely not.”
But Garcetti disagrees. “At the DWP, she’s found zero dollars in waste,” he countered.
“And as a reward she’s had nearly $3 million led by the DWP union to purchase this campaign for her,” Garcetti alleged.
Other contenders include Councilwoman Jan Perry, who claims that projects she pushed through have helped create 90,000 jobs.
There is one Republican running — Kevin James, a former prosecutor and radio talk show host. He says he’s a true outsider and is not beholden to city unions.
Finally, at 30 years old, tech executive Manuel Pleitez is the youngest candidate running.
If no candidate receives a majority of the vote in Tuesday’s contests, the top two vote-getters will compete in a runoff in May.
Los Angeles city polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Elsewhere in Los Angeles County, 33 cities also are holding local elections.