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Newcomer opens his own checkbook in LA city attorney race; Trutanich lags

Greg Smith has contributed $620,000 of his own money to his campaign for Los Angeles city attorney.
Greg Smith has contributed $620,000 of his own money to his campaign for Los Angeles city attorney.

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The latest fundraising report shows that attorney Greg Smith has poured $620,000 of his own money into his bid to unseat Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen Trutanich.

“I’m willing to do what it takes to get my message out,” Smith said. “I will match whatever Feuer does.”

Former state Assemblyman Mike Feuer has raised the most money in the race, $898,000.  The city is also giving him $300,000 in matching funds, based on a two-to-one match of contributions from individuals who live within the city.  Smith has rejected matching funds so he can spend his own money freely.

Trutanich places third in the money race. He’s raised $382,000, plus $158,000 in city matching funds. The city attorney said he started his re-election campaign late – in August, after he lost his bid for L.A. County district attorney. He also said he’s spending less time fundraising than Feuer.

“I don’t spend eight hours a day on the phones calling people,” Trutanich said. “I work every day.”

Trutanich may need less money to compete, because he already has citywide name recognition.   Voters are not as familiar with Feuer, who has served as an assemblyman and city councilman. Smith has never run for elected office.

“I’m not an incumbent or a guy who has been a professional politician for 20 years,” Smith said.  “So I have to go into my own pocket, unfortunately.”

Smith won’t say what he’s worth, but he’s earned much of his money over a decade of representing L.A.P.D. officers who've sued the city over working conditions.  He said he’s filed 70 to 100 lawsuits against the city, and he hopes to win the endorsement of the influential union that represents rank and file officers.