Politics, government and public life for Southern California

Independent group organizes to support Eric Garcetti in May runoff (updated)

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Eric Garcetti may have wanted to keep outside groups from funding the Los Angeles mayor’s race, but his supporters say it’s time to fight fire with fire.

An independent group backed by Rick Jacobs of the Courage Campaign and Mary Jane Stevenson, who organized for President Obama in California, will raise money on behalf of Garcetti. With the primary just two and a half weeks away, the “Lots of People Who Support Eric Garcetti for Mayor 2013” PAC will focus its efforts on mobilizing voters for the May 21 runoff.

Garcetti and his main rival, City Controller Wendy Greuel, are the presumptive favorites to advance to the runoff.

“Our job will be to get the message of who Eric Garcetti is, which is a strong, bold leader for today and the future, out to all the people,” Jacobs said.

Jacobs declined to say how much the PAC hopes to raise, other than “what we need to win.” 

It was just last month that Garcetti asked his opponents – and specifically Greuel – to sign a pledge that would blunt the impact of outside money. The “People’s Pledge” was presented when it became clear that Greuel would benefit from the Working Californians PAC, which is supported by entertainment executives and the union that represents Department of Water and Power employees.

That group has spent $272,500 on a television commercial and billboards, according to the Ethics Commission. The political arm of the police union is also spending $331,000 on a TV ad for Greuel.

“Eric introduced the People's Pledge, Wendy refused to sign it,” said Jeff Millman with the Garcetti campaign. “Obviously, L.A. residents are worried that the DWP union is trying to buy this election for Wendy Greuel, so of course there are many people who will react against that.”

In an interview with KPCC, Jacobs said he agrees with Garcetti that money should stay out of politics, but he likened the campaign to the Cold War.

“We cannot unilaterally disarm, it’s that simple,” he said. “One must look carefully at motivations of people whose only business is business before the city.”

The PAC will look to fund television commercials and electronic media.

“You are going to see our efforts put into getting people to vote and trying to be incredibly efficient with the money,” Jacobs said.

Update: Working Californians posted another $553,205 ad buy for Wendy Greuel to the Ethics Commission website Friday. 

This post has been updated. 

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