LOS ANGELES (JTA) – Eric Garcetti, a veteran city councilman, became the first elected Jewish mayor of Los Angeles.
Garcetti, 42, defeated City Controller Wendy Greuel, 54 percent to 46 percent, with all precincts reporting. Greuel conceded in the early morning on Wednesday.
“Thank you Los Angeles — the hard work begins but I am honored to lead this city for the next four years. Let’s make this a great city again,” Garcetti tweeted when his victory became apparent.
Garcetti, who has been a councilman since his election in 2001, is the son of a Jewish mother and was raised Jewish. On his father’s side, he is of mixed Italian and Mexican heritage.
He takes his post on July 1.
A Jewish man, Bernard Cohn, served as the city’s appointed mayor in 1878, but only for a few weeks, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Greuel is not Jewish but is married to a Jewish attorney, and their 9-year old son attends a Jewish day school. Both candidates are liberal Democrats; their campaigns were based more on personalities than ideological differences.
Defeated in the primaries was Councilwoman Jan Perry, an African-American and a convert to Judaism.
Jewish candidates won two other citywide offices. In the race for city attorney, Mike Feuer, a longstanding Jewish community activist, handily beat incumbent Carmen Trutanich, who conceded around midnight.
Ron Galperin, the son of Holocaust survivors, was successful in his bid for city controller. In his campaign literature, particularly when aimed at Jewish voters, he stressed that his parents were survivors who had fought for Israel in the 1948 War of Independence.
Los Angeles’ 600,000 Jews make up the second largest Jewish community in the United States. While they are just 6 percent of the city’s approximately 4 million residents, Jews represent nearly 20 percent of those who cast ballots in municipal elections, which have been marked by low voter turnout.
Many Latino and Asian residents are recent immigrants and non-citizens who are ineligible to vote.