Wendy Greuel Celebrates Primary Victory
While votes were still being counted, the outcome became close enough to presume- Greuel and fellow candidate councilman Eric Garcetti tied, eliciting 11 more weeks of campaigning before the city votes again on May 21.
"Los Angeles deserves tough and strong leadership," Greuel told the crowd. "A leader tough enough to root out waste, fraud and abuse at City Hall and bring our fiscal house in order. I am that leader."
Greuel was an anticipated favorite off the list of mayoral candidates. Falling behind Garcetti only by a small percentage, polls throughout the race showed her ahead of contenders Jan Perry, Kevin James and Emanuel Pleitez.
Her role as city controller gave her an advantage, warranting support from Angelenos concerned with the city budget. Referred to as a "financial watchdog," Greuel's background working with numbers appealed to many voters worried over L.A.'s monetary resources.
"I know several of the candidates because I'm an environmental advocate and worked on the harbor commission, but none of them are as qualified as Wendy," said Jerilyn Lopez Mendoza, an L.A. resident of 10 years who came to support Greuel at last night's event. "Wendy's resume is unparalleled."
On Tuesday night, Greuel cited a specific experience as the reason for her being where she is today - working with former L.A. Mayor Tom Bradley.
Bradley was the first, and remains the only, African American to be elected as mayor of Los Angeles. Greuel came to work for Bradley's administration in the early 1980s after she graduated from UCLA, influencing both her political views and her career.
"I will be a mayor for every resident of Los Angeles because that's how I was taught by my mentor, Tom Bradley," Greuel told the crowd. "Mayor Bradley inspired me to dedicate much of my life to public service… I believe in a future where we measure our progress, not merely by the quantity of our goods but in the quality of our lives; the purity in the air we breathe and the water we drink; the safety of our streets and the quality of our schools."
John Shallman, her campaign strategist, emphasized how Greuel has run without concern for centralizing efforts to a particular geographic base in L.A..
He mentioned they opened offices everywhere from Boyle Heights to the San Fernando Valley, fighting for every vote despite any advantages her opponents might have in those regions.
"She recognized with Jan Perry in the race it might be more challenging to get votes in the African American community," Shallman said. "But it didn't bother her, she went in and fought and she's going to keep coming back and fight for every vote because that's the kind of mayor she's going to be."
According to Shallman, this strategy will prevail in coming weeks as the campaign continues towards the general election in May.
"I think that people are going to realize that Wendy is someone who has support from across the spectrum– environmentalist, business community, labor," Shallman said. "She knows how to bring people together because they trust her to bring in a solution that's a win-win as opposed to pitting one group against another."
Greuel had a diverse group of supporters speak on her behalf Tuesday night. Police commissioner John Mack, former speaker of the state assembly Robert Hertzberg and Councilmember Jose Huizar were among several who spoke to the crowd gathered at the downtown brewery in support of Greuel.
Championing the revitalization of his own District 14, Huizar saluted Greuel for regarding every street corner of Los Angeles as equal.
"I know that Wendy Greuel has spoken about and is interested in making sure that every part of L.A. gets the attention it deserves," Huizar said. "She will be the mayor of all of Los Angeles."
As Greuel spoke from the podium in the celebration's final hour, her team of allies shared the stage around her, including husband Dean and 9-year-old son Thomas.
Taking a note from the celebrated mayor who galvanized her political career, she declared with conviction that she too would make history. Greuel embraced her son as she explained that if elected, she would not only be the first woman elected to the office of L.A. mayor, but also the first mom.
However, not without the help of her advocates in the audience.
"Mayor Bradley once said the only thing that will stop you from fulfilling your dreams is you," Greuel recited to the crowd. "So now, I need you. Are you ready to work your heart out for the next 11 weeks? And are you ready to make history with me?"
Find more Neon Tommy coverage of the L.A. primary election here.
Reach Staff Reporter Lauren Foliart here.