Villaraigosa, a progressive, leads in LA mayor election

Antonio Villaraigosa, a genuine progressive, former State Assembly Speaker and union organizer, and current City Council member, has gotten 33% of the vote in the LA mayoral race. Current mayor Jim Hahn, in a slap upside the head, looks to finish a distant second at 24%, forcing a runoff in May.

In the 2001 election, in a disgusting move, Hahn slimed Villaraigosa at the last moment with stomach-turning ads, practically calling him a gang member. Hahn won the race, however Villaraigosa is far stronger this time. At best, Hahn has been an ineffective mayor, and through ineptness (or worse) has somehow managed to alienate the constituency his father, the hugely popular former LA County Supervisor Kenneth Hahn, had built over decades.

Two things Hahn touted as his primary achievements— his successful fight against San Fernando Valley secession and his replacement of Police Chief Bernard C. Parks with William J. Bratton — alienated many of the Valley and African American voters who had been crucial to his 2001 election.

More broadly, Hahn — who, based on early returns, appeared likely to become the first incumbent mayor in 32 years not to win reelection without a runoff — never established the sort of record Angelenos seemed to be looking for.

Likely voters polled by The Times last month said what they wanted most in a mayor was honesty and strong leadership.

While Hahn has insisted on his own integrity, his popularity has suffered as a result of criminal investigations into alleged influence peddling in city contracting.

From reader Green Lisa, who works for the county during elections.

My section, the Vote by Mail section, is the one you’ll be hearing about in the news today –we have to certify all the 24,000 VBM and provisional ballots to figure out if Hahn or Hertzberg will be in the runoff against Antonio. still too close to call this morning!!

Hahn is leading by 5,000ish votes, so it is unlikely Hertzberg will have enough in those 24,000 still outstanding, but we’ll see. it may be an exact duplicate of 4 yrs ago: Hahn vs. Villaraigosa on May 17th.

Let’s hope LA elects Villaraigosa, who, as mentioned, is far stronger this time around.