L.A. race heads to runoff in lucrative contest for consultants

The race to lead America's second largest city was narrowed to Councilmember Eric Garcetti and City Controller Wendy Greuel in a low-turnout affair Tuesday. The two frontrunners finished with about 32 and 30 percent of the vote respectively and now advance to a May 21 runoff. The Los Angeles mayoral race has been lucrative for consultants— Greuel and Garcetti have spent about $9.5 million between them, according to their city Ethics Commission reports. Garcetti's pre-election report showed his mayoral campaign had $249,986 cash on hand and $241,469 in debt as Feb. 27 while Greuel's had $327,244 banked and $170,142 in debt. Garcetti appears to favor West Coast talent while Greuel has turned to Washington for help. Greuel, who is backed by home state Sen. Barbara Boxer and Reps. Linda Sanchez and Janice Hahn, has used NGP VAN for its data services. Since 2011, Greuel's camp has paid the Democratic technology firm just under $25,000. She's also used Lake Research Partners for polling, paying the Washington-based firm about $155,000 since last October, records show. Meanwhile, Garcetti has gone the non-partisan route on data. His campaign used Liberal Art, a Rockville, Md.-based website design firm that's partnered with NationBuilder, and Political Data, the California-based non-partisan data shop. His campaign has paid Political Data about $12,000 since last December. For polling, he's paid the bi-coastal firm VR Research, which has offices in Oakland and Washington, more than $72,000 and Peter Hart's D.C.-based firm just under $100,000.  By far Garcetti's biggest expenditure went to Carrick Consulting, the company founded by his campaign strategist, veteran California operative Bill Carrick. Garcetti has paid Carrick's media firm, which is producing his TV spots, $3 million according to his filings. Greuel also has California political veterans on the payroll including Rose Kapolczynski, who managed all four of Boxer's Senate campaigns and Patricia Duchene, a direct-mail consultant with RED Mailing. But she's also used Buying Time for its media buys, paying the D.C.-based firm just under $2.5 million. Garcetti appears to be the favorite of some local donors, too. A recent analysis by the Los Angeles Times found that actors, producers, directors and Hollywood types have donated $462,000 to Garcetti and $226,000 to Greuel.

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