Candidates respond to Austin Beutner's exit from mayor's race (updated)

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It was little more than a year ago that Austin Beutner left Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's administration to run for mayor. Today, he withdrew from the race.

With Austin Beutner’s departure from the 2013 mayor's race, two candidates today told KPCC they are now in a better position to be the next mayor of Los Angeles.

The four leading candidates in the race to succeed Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa are Controller Wendy Greuel, Councilman Eric Garcetti, Councilwoman Jan Perry and former talk radio host Kevin James.

A consultant for the Perry campaign called Beutner’s decision “very helpful.”

“How it changes the race is, there were two people who were clearly on the reformers’ side among the four or five people running for mayor … With Austin’s exit there’s only one candidate who is clearly on the reformers’ side and that’s Jan Perry,” said Eric Hacopian.

A spokesman for James, an attorney, claimed a similar benefit.

“With Mr. Beutner’s resignation, Kevin James is without a doubt the only candidate with an arm’s length distance from City Hall,” said John Thomas. “James is prepared with real solutions to fix the problems created by self-serving career politicians.”

In a statement from the Greuel campaign, the controller said Beutner, “helped shine a light on the city bureaucracy, uncovering problems and calling for greater transparency.”

As for Garcetti, he said that through his non-profit work and candidacy, "Austin has elevated the debate around jobs, reform and the need to move every Los Angeles community forward. I know he will continue to contribute a strong voice to the civic discussion and I wish him and his family the best."

The primary for the 2013 mayor’s race will be held next March.

This post has been updated.

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