A deeply divided Los Angeles County Democratic Party Tuesday night declined to endorse a candidate in the L.A. mayor’s race. Neither City Councilman Eric Garcetti nor City Controller Wendy Greuel garnered the necessary 60 percent of delegates – or 117 votes – to win the party’s backing.
Garcetti won 105 votes. Greuel grabbed 81.
“Our members were genuinely split between the two candidates,” County Chairman Eric Bauman said. “It’s a race where you have two very strong Democrats running against each other.”
Both Garcetti and Greuel are longtime Democrats (though Greuel was a registered Republican in her younger years). Each has deep roots among the party activists that comprise the voting membership, and each had personally wooed delegates.
The mayor’s race is officially non-partisan, but the party traditionally endorses a candidate. It backed Antonio Villaraigosa in the last three elections (He lost his 2001 bid to Jim Hahn).
In the Hollywood-based District 13 city council race, county Democrats voted to back labor activist John Choi over Mitch O’Farrell, a former aide to Garcetti.
In the South LA-based District 9 city council race, county Democrats voted to endorse State Senator Curren Price over Ana Cubas, former chief of staff to Councilman Jose Huizar.
And in the 1st city council district, which stretches from MacArthur Park to Highland Park, county Democrats endorsed former State Assemblyman Gil Cedillo over Jose Gardea. The latter is the chief of staff to the current 1st district councilman, Ed Reyes.
In the special election for the 6th council district in the San Fernando Valley, county Democrats voted to endorse former Assemblywoman and LA Department of Water and Power official Cindy Montanez over current LA Unified School Board Member Nury Martinez.
Earlier Tuesday, the LA County Federation of Labor endorsed Greuel. More than two-thirds of the Committee on Political Education voted to support her. The federation’s executive committee must still ratify the vote, a near certainty.
Some organized labor leaders have been unhappy with Garcetti’s votes to impose layoffs, unpaid furloughs and pension reform during the city budget crisis. Garcetti issued a statement saying he still has the backing of a number of unions, including the Teamsters and Longshore workers.
This story has been changed from an earlier version: Nury Martinez is a current LA Unified School Board Member.