Los Angeles police officer Joe Buscaino and Assemblyman Warren Furutani will square off in a Jan. 17 runoff election in their bids for the 15th District seat on the City Council.
In Tuesday's election, they topped a field of 11 candidates vying to take over for Janice Hahn, who left the seat in July when she was elected to Congress. Hahn replaced Congresswoman Jane Harman, who stepped down earlier this year to run a foreign policy think tank in Washington, leaving a vacancy in a district that stretches from Watts to San Pedro.
The candidates and outside groups spent $1.9 million on mailings, billboards, TV ads, yard signs and more to sway voters in the heavily Democratic district. During the campaign, the candidates jockeyed for prominent endorsements from influential politicians and powerful unions.
In July, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced his support for Furutani, who also has received endorsements from the Los Angeles County Democratic Party, the Teamsters and a handful of labor unions representing government workers.
Furutani is a fixture in local politics. His role as a state legislator led to an influx of financial support from Sacramento as well.
Joe Buscaino is a first time candidate but was quick out of the gates to raise money for his campaign. He raised $170,000 on his own and the Los Angeles Police Protective League contributed an additional $72,285.
Buscaino is also a longtime resident of San Pedro - the largest voter area in 15th district. His popularity at home seemed to help propel him to the top of the polls.
Other candidates included Rudy Svorinich, a registered lobbyist who had the benefit of name recognition in the campaign. He held the now-open seat for two terms before Hahn.
Pat McOsker was also a competitive candidate and had the support of political action committees set up by the Service Employees International Union and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. The two organizations have spent a combined $374,000 to support firefighter McOsker's campaign, more than five times the next highest spending committee.
Additional candidates on the ballot were:
-- Frank Pereyda, businessman;
-- Gordon Teuber, Hahn's economic director;
-- Justin I. Brimmer, Los Angeles legislative deputy;
-- Rebecca Chambliss, Realtor;
-- Jayme Wilson, businessman;
-- M. "Candice" Graham, community activist, businesswoman; and
-- John M. Delgado Jr., businessman.
The four certified write-in candidates were James T. Law, Timothy "Dream" Weaver, Robert Farrell and Emery D. Soos.