March 8, 2017 / 11:12 AM / 3 years ago

Los Angeles mayor wins re-election in landslide

(Reuters) - Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti clinched re-election on Tuesday in a landslide victory that handed him a second term for 5-1/2 years in charge of America’s second-largest city.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti speaks at a press conference following Los Angeles City Council's vote on whether to give final approval for the city's bid to host the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Los Angeles, California, U.S., January 25, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

Garcetti won 81 percent of the vote, according to a tally of all ballots early on Wednesday.

The nearest of his 10 challengers, Mitchell Schwartz, who was California state director of Barack Obama’s presidential campaign in 2007 and 2008, trailed with just 8 percent of the vote.

Garcetti, a 46-year-old Democrat, was “deeply honored” to serve a second term, he said on Twitter early on Wednesday. Garcetti will serve 5 1/2 years instead of the usual four due to a change in the city’s election calendar, officials said.

During his campaign, the mayor highlighted his support for a measure to raise the city’s minimum wage, and employment gains in the aftermath of a nationwide recession. He also enjoyed a significant funding advantage over his rivals, reporting raising more than $3.8 million as of March 1.

Schwartz, the only other candidate to have raised substantial funds, is expected to have spent $790,000, a spokesman said.

Schwartz, 55, made the city’s rising crime rate and soaring housing costs focal points of his campaign, also warning of a looming pension fund crisis.

Garcetti, who defeated then-city Controller Wendy Greuel in a run-off four years ago, is the son of former prosecutor Gil Garcetti, whose office tried O.J. Simpson for murder and lost.

Drawing almost as much attention in Tuesday’s municipal elections was ballot Measure S, aimed at limiting urban development by halting “spot zoning” amendments to the city’s General Plan for two years.

Supporters of the plan, which was defeated with 69 percent of voters against, said spot zoning permits granted to wealthy real estate interests had spurred runaway construction, increasing congestion and driving up housing costs.

Opponents said it would have undermined the city’s efforts to create more affordable housing.

(This version of the story corrects paragraph 1 to show mayor’s term will be 5-1/2 years instead of 4 years due to change in election calendar, adds explanation in paragraph 4)

Reporting by Brendan O'Brien in Milwaukee; editing by John Stonestreet

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