Hahn Trails Villaraigosa in the Race for Money
Los Angeles Mayor James K. Hahn has raised significantly
less money for the mayoral runoff campaign than rival
Antonio Villaraigosa in the weeks since the March 8
Hahn's campaign reported Thursday that the incumbent raised
$407,795 through last Saturday, less than two-thirds of
what his opponent collected during that period.
Villaraigosa, a city councilman and former speaker of the
state Assembly, reported Wednesday to the City Ethics
Commission that he had raised $653,255.
Hours before filing his campaign finance report, Hahn said
he was not concerned that he trailed Villaraigosa in money.
"I haven't raised as much, but I'm going to be
competitive," Hahn said at a campaign event in Van Nuys.
"We're going to have enough money to get our message
Steven P. Erie, director of the urban studies and planning
program at UC San Diego, said the fundraising figures are a
sign that Hahn could be in trouble. "It's a fairly
substantial gap," he said. "To be this far behind is not a
Hahn, however, also lagged behind Villaraigosa in the money
race when they faced off in the 2001 runoff election.
Villaraigosa raised $2.9 million, 42% more than Hahn's $2.1
million. But Hahn beat Villaraigosa by 7 percentage
Raphael Sonenshein, a Cal State Fullerton professor and an
expert on Los Angeles politics, said Hahn's fundraising
shortfall is significant, but probably has more of a
psychological effect than a real one. As an incumbent
mayor, Hahn has the ability to bring in large sums of money
in the weeks before the May 17 election, Sonenshein
"Hahn is clearly the underdog," Sonenshein said. "But
Hahn's reelection troubles have been visible for months,
and yet you still can't count him out."
Sonenshein noted that Hahn has an advantage in being able
to command free television coverage as mayor. And he said
that having less money, though not desirable, could help
Hahn blunt the criticism that he has taken a lot of money
from special interests with business at City Hall.
Villaraigosa's campaign manager, Ace Smith, was delighted
with the mayor's financial standing. "It's an incredibly
weak performance for an incumbent mayor of one of the
largest cities in America," he said. "His campaign is in
big trouble. It's that simple."
In a city as sprawling and diffuse as Los Angeles,
candidates are heavily dependent on television ads to reach
voters. Since 2001, the cost of those ads has increased
dramatically, making the money race that much more
Hahn's campaign returned to many of his longtime supporters
to raise money since the March 8 election, which saw him
finish 9 percentage points behind Villaraigosa.
The mayor's campaign received thousands of dollars from
attorneys with law firms doing business with the city,
including lawyers for Manatt Phelps & Phillips;
O'Melveny & Myers; and Christensen, Miller, Fink,
A large number of real estate and development firms also
contributed to the mayor. Hahn received $1,000 each from
AEG and the firm's chief executive, Tim Leiweke. AEG built
Staples Center with financial help from the city and is now
trying to win city approval for a $1-billion development
The mayor also turned to longtime insiders, including
attorney George Kieffer, former president of the Los
Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce; state Sen. Gil Cedillo
(D-Los Angeles); and investment banker John Emerson, a
former Clinton White House aide who was Hahn's chief of
staff when Hahn was city attorney.
Checks also came from unions and trade groups, which have
thrown their support behind the incumbent. Hahn received
the maximum $1,000 each from the Los Angeles Police Command
Officers Assn., Service Employees International Union Local
347, the Los Angeles Airport Peace Officers Assn. and
Gunite Workers Local 345. He received $500 from the
Directors Guild of America.
Hahn campaign strategist Kam Kuwata said Hahn's support
from organized labor would include thousands of union
members walking precincts and working phone banks.
City Hall lobbyists also made a big showing. Those who
contributed $1,000 to Hahn include: Butterfield
Communications, Darlene Kuba, Rudy Svorinich Jr. and Ek
The last firm was co-host at a fundraiser for Hahn last
week. The Airport Commission, whose members are appointed
by the mayor, voted Monday to extend a contract for
McDonald's restaurants at LAX. Lobbyist John Ek represents
McDonald's outlets at the airport.
Hahn fundraiser Annette Castro and her husband, lobbyist
Julio Ramirez Jr., each contributed $1,000. Ramirez
represents the Hudson Group, whose contract to run
bookstores and newsstands at LAX was also extended Monday
by the Airport Commission.
Asked about contributions from firms that do business with
the city, Kuwata said, "Both campaigns have that."
The entertainment industry also stepped up. Sylvester
Stallone, Burt Bacharach, Warner Bros. President Alan Horn
and producer Gary Ross donated $1,000 each.
Other prominent contributors who gave $1,000 included
construction company president Ronald Tutor, billionaire
philanthropist Eli Broad, Hilton Hotels co-chairman William
Barron Hilton, Univision Chairman and Chief Executive A.
Jerrold Perenchio and former Police Commissioner Bert
The mayor also received $1,000 from Advanced Cleanup
Technologies, a firm whose attorney is Harbor Commission
President Nicholas G. Tonsich, a Hahn appointee. The firm
recently won a $300,000 contract from the port.
Hahn, who lives in San Pedro, received support from
businesses in the harbor town. Port of Los Angeles tenant
Yusen Terminals Inc. contributed $1,000. Pacific Energy
Group of Long Beach gave $1,000 and is seeking to build a
large crude-oil terminal at the Port of Los Angeles.
Also giving $1,000 were Andrew C. Fox, president of Pacific
Harbor Line, a port rail line, and Metropolitan Stevedore
Co. of Wilmington.
Other San Pedro business leaders donating $1,000 include
James Cross, head of a group seeking to launch a charter
high school in a port building, and Jayme Wilson, owner of
Spirit Cruises and co-chairman of a port community advisory
panel created by Hahn.
Times staff writer Deborah Schoch and researcher Maloy
Moore contributed to this report.
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