If you are a registered voter living in either Council District 1 or Council District 13, make room in your mail box.
With a week left to go before the city’s run off elections on May 21, large amounts of money from public employee unions and special business interests as well as smaller contributions from individuals continue to flow into the campaigns to replace Eric Garcetti, the termed-out councilman of the 13th Council District (Atwater, Echo Park, Silver Lake and other areas) and Ed Reyes, who is also serving his final term as representative of the 1st Council District (Cypress Park, Lincoln Heights, Mt. Washington and other areas).
All that money is quickly being spent to send out more glossy campaign brochures and postcards into mail boxes as well as pay for billboards and other ads.
The flood of independent expenditures has given a financial and marketing edge to Gil Cedillo, who is running against Jose Gardea in Council District 1, and John Choi, who is up against Mitch O’Farrell in the Council District 13 race. Unlike campaign contributions, which are restricted by the city, there are no caps on independent expenditures. However, those expenditures cannot be made in coordination or approved by the candidates.
With the help of those independent expenditures, an estimated $1.4 million has been in support of Cedillo, a former state assemblyman, which is more than twice the amount spent in favor of Gardea, who now serves as Chief of Staff to Councilman Reyes, according to figures from city’s Ethics Commission.
Meanwhile in Council District 13, campaign spending in favor of Choi, a former Public Works commissioner, have totaled more than $1.2 million, or nearly three times as much as the money backing O’Farrell, a former aide to Councilman Garcetti.
While Gardea and O’Farrell can claim many years of working directly with residents and community groups in their respective districts, the combination of independent expenditures and campaign contributions has helped Cedillo and Choi to quickly raise their profiles among area voters.
Choi and O’Farrell are scheduled to appear at a Council District 13 candidate forum tonight at 6:30 p.m. in Elysian Valley. Click here for details.