Every election is like a giant reset machine. Careers advance, decline, stagnate and some are born.
Aside from the big winners – Garcetti, Galperin and Feuer – who now have four years to prove themselves, what are the likely fates of the other candidates and players in the recently concluded campaign for the top seats in the city?
Kevin James made a positive impression and positioned himself as a key player in Los Angeles city politics. His endorsement of Garcetti was worth more than Clinton’s, Riordan’s and Boxer’s combined support for the Greuel campaign. James was the one who drove the final nail in the coffin for Greuel. She counted on solidarity from the Valley to drive her to City Hall – James dashed any hope for it.
Now James must decide what he does with the influence he earned. The fact he achieved a respectable third place finish without any meaningful support from the Republican party works to his advantage. He can take a non-partisan track and become the voice of fiscal responsibility and sensible management for all Angelenos.
Jan Perry is practical and reasonable. She was not assertive enough in the primary until it was too late. It is possible she could have cut into enough of James’ support and overtaken Greuel for second place, but James did a better job of positioning himself as the outsider committed to reform. He took the wind out of her sails.
Perry will likely be appointed to a commission. That’s a good thing for Los Angeles. She would be a major cut above the usual suspects.
Emanuel Pleitez has a ways to go before he becomes a serious political contender, but he has the smarts and technical knowledge to help develop solutions to the city’s problems. I hope the Garcetti administration engages him.
Greuel’s defeat wasn’t just a loss, it was a disaster that can affect her political future. Backers will have to think twice before supporting her in her next campaign. Despite having the advantages of an all-star team of endorsers, the Chamber of Commerce, the backing of all the major public unions, money and broad name recognition, she lost by a sizable margin. Deep pocket donors like to back candidates with the potential to win. They will analyze Greuel’s failure and might look for other candidates to support.
The same analysis will be applied to John Shallman’s string of failures in major campaigns. He managed Chris Essel’s campaign for the CD2 special election to replace Wendy Greuel after she assumed the City Controller responsibilities. Essel was Greuel’s surrogate in that race and Shallman’s strategy was almost a duplicate of the one he used in the mayoral race. Like Greuel, Essel had the support of the IBEW, Riordan and ran very negative ads. The campaign crashed and burned. Shallman apparently never learned from the debacle.
What about Shallman’s involvement in Feuer’s victory, you might ask?
Trutanich was dead on arrival. Greuel could have managed Feuer’s campaign with the same result. Shallman could have phoned it in. It was never a contest.
Now that Bob Hertzberg has announced he will run for the State Senate, will he use Shallman again?
Hertzberg is one of the most respected individuals in state politics and should win handily in any event, so why waste money on a manager with a checkered track record? He could hire and up and coming professional for a lot less and still win.
Let’s see what the fates have in store.