Eric Garcetti was elected the first Jewish mayor of Los Angeles, one of a number of political contests that reflect the city’s diversity, and its Jewish community.
Garcetti, 42, a veteran city councilman, led city controller Wendy Greuel by six points around 3 A.M. Wednesday, with nearly 100 percent of the ballots counted. Greuel conceded about an hour earlier.
“Thank you Los Angeles–the hard work begins but I am honored to lead this city for the next four years. Let’s make this a great city again,” Garcetti tweeted when his victory became apparent.
Garcetti is the son of a Jewish mother and was raised as a Jew. On his father’s side, he is of mixed Italian and Mexican heritage.
Greuel is not Jewish but is married to a Jewish attorney and their nine-year old son attends a Jewish day school. Both candidates are liberal Democrats and their campaigns were based more on personalities than ideological differences.
Defeated in the earlier primaries was Councilwoman Jan Perry, an African-American woman and a convert to Judaism.
Jewish candidates for two other citywide offices were well ahead of their opponents. In the race for city attorney, Mike Feuer, a longstanding Jewish community activist, handily beat incumbent Carmen Trutanich, who conceded around midnight.
Also well ahead was Ron Galperin in his bid for city controller. In his campaign literature, particularly when aimed at Jewish voters, he stressed that his parents were Holocaust survivors who had fought for Israel in the 1948 War of Independence.
Los Angeles’ 600,000 Jews make up the second largest Jewish community in the United States, but are only 15 percent of the city’s roughly 4 million residents. However, they represent close to 20 percent of those actually casting ballots in municipal elections, which have been marked by low voter turnout. Many Latino and Asian residents are recent immigrants and non-citizens, who are ineligible to vote.
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