City Atty. Carmen Trutanich jokes with daughter Kristin and her son Nathan,… (Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles…)
After an especially contentious campaign, Los Angeles City Atty. Carmen Trutanich conceded to challenger Mike Feuer late Tuesday, while attorney Ron Galperin was leading City Councilman Dennis Zine in partial returns for another citywide office, controller.
From his jampacked party at a home in Hancock Park, Feuer said he was gratified by the "tremendous outpouring of support" he found as he campaigned in communities across the city. He promised to bring a "new level of connection" between the city attorney's office and L.A.'s neighborhoods.
Trutanich, who was seeking a second term as the city's top lawyer, told supporters at Rocco's Tavern in Studio City that he had called Feuer to concede the race.
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Feuer opened up a commanding lead when the first ballot tally was posted, and the gap continued to grow through the night.
In the contest to be the city's top lawyer, Trutanich, 61, faced hurdles to hang on to his job despite the usual advantage of incumbency. One problem was his decision to run for county district attorney last year, breaking an earlier promise not to seek another office until serving two terms at City Hall.
His opponents pounded him on the broken pledge; when he failed to make the district attorney runoff, he switched gears and announced he would run again for his current post.
By then, Feuer, 55, a former city councilman who finished his allowable three terms in the state Assembly last year, was hard at work raising money and lining up endorsements.
Trutanich never caught up in fundraising. He finished 14 percentage points behind Feuer in the March primary and had trailed in every independent poll since.
The race quickly heated up. Trutanich belittled Feuer's lack of criminal trial experience and called him a "career politician looking for his next job." Feuer said Trutanich had the wrong priorities and needlessly antagonized other officials, undercutting the office's effectiveness.
The two candidates or their supporters filed numerous complaints against one another with the city Ethics Commission, charges still unresolved on election day.
A Trutanich ally filed
a lawsuit accusing Feuer
and his election consultant of conspiring to hide the true cost of the campaign to
collect public taxpayer funds.
Feuer denied the allegations and called the suit "frivolous" and the work of a "desperate" campaign.
In one especially nasty mailer, the Trutanich campaign pasted Feuer's face on a photo of disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong's bike-racing body and, for political insiders, plastered his consultant's face on that of another cyclist. "Some men will lie, cheat and steal to finish the race first," the mailer said.
Feuer, whose career has included pushing to reform politics, offered himself to voters as someone who has always lived by high ethical standards.
The contest for city controller, however, was relatively low-key and civil.
Zine, 65, a retired Los Angeles police sergeant and three-term councilman, faced off in a few debates with Galperin, 49, a lawyer and city financial efficiency commissioner, for
the chance to be the city's chief auditor and accountant.
Zine argued that his status as a City Hall insider prepared him to take on the controller's duties right away because he knows the players and how to navigate the city's bureaucracy. Backed by the city union representing non-sworn personnel, Galperin countered that his expertise in city finance qualified him for the job.
Galperin played up his status as a City Hall outsider at the pair's final debate last week.
"I'm the only one out of six people running for citywide office who has not been an elected official,'' Galperin told the audience. "And yet by chairing two of the city's financial commissions I've come to have a deep understanding of the city's finances."
Whether the electorate paid much attention to the down-ballot controller candidates is another question.
Times staff writer Catherine Saillant contributed to this report.