Jim Hahn opened his press conference at noon with a smile and a quip—"now the fun begins." A cursory look at yesterday's results, however, shows the challenge the mayor faces. Three voters in four sized up his term in office and voted against giving Hahn another. Even though eight members of the city council endorsed Hahn, he won just a single district: his own in San Pedro (and with only 50.9% of the votes.) Antonio Villaraigosa won eight districts, including five where the incumbents—Ed Reyes, Tom LaBonge, Jan Perry, Cindy Miscikowski and Eric Garcetti—had endorsed Hahn. Bob Hertzberg won four districts, including the one represented by Villaraigosa backer Jack Weiss.
Another way to look at it: Hahn managed to finish second in six districts, but in seven districts the incumbent mayor came in third. In the areas with the most black voters, where he won in 2001, it's worse. Hahn came in fourth in Bernard Parks' 8th district and third in the adjacent 10th. Parks won both strongly, but only finished as high as second in one other. And: Remember Walter Moore, the Republican candidate who got little attention? He out-polled Richard Alarcon in five council districts, and only finished 3,156 votes behind Alarcon citywide.
The Center for the Study of Los Angeles at Loyola Marymount University did an exit poll yesterday. It overestimated Villaraigosa's total and had Hertzberg beating Hahn. That's why they count the votes.
Hertzberg says he won't make a decision on an endorsement for at least a couple of days. Asked at his press conference why he had never hugged Hahn, Hertzberg quipped that the mayor is just "not a very huggable guy." He also showed off what his new slogan and website were going to be if he had made the runoff: BigIdeasforLA.com.
Villaraigosa this morning went into the heart of Hertzberg territory, Sherman Oaks, to shake hands with voters. Jack Weiss was at his side. Villaraigosa finished behind Hertzberg and Hahn in the 5th district, which extends from the Westside across the hills to Ventura Boulevard.
Villaraigosa campaign manager Ace Smith showed up outside the Hahn press conference to put on pressure and urge reporters to ask tough questions about the pay-to-play investigations.
Joel Kotkin writes on the New Republic website today that Hertzberg's failure to get in the runoff is an ominous sign for the L.A. middle class: "Middle-class residents here may no longer have large enough ranks to elect one of their own to citywide office....Major cities are continuing to lose middle-class residents as they flock either to the surrounding suburbs or to less congested, more affordable, and more business-friendly smaller cities, particularly in places like Nevada, Arizona, Texas, and Florida....This occurred in late imperial Rome, in seventeenth-century Venice, in eighteenth-century Amsterdam--and has become a common prelude to urban disaster in American cities during the past half-century." Kotkin's book The City: A Global History is due out from Modern Library in April.
Earl Ofari Hutchinson writes that blacks face a difficult choice between longtime friend Hahn and new friend Villaraigosa: "The choice that African Americans make will tell much about the fate of multi-ethnic political alliances in Los Angeles, California and nationally."
Elena Stern, Villaraigosa's former communications director, is leaving Burson Marsteller PR to be Vice President, Government & Media Relations at Para Los Niños downtown. She follows Alan Arkatov out the door.
Hahn's campaign says a "significant endorsement" will be announced Thursday afternoon.
* Updated and edited a touch