Sun, Jul

CD 15 Election: The Real Winners and Losers

RETAIL & WHOLESALE - It was a wholesale shellacking of an early favorite.  Like it or not, last night's big winner in Los Angeles was Joe Buscaino's consultant Mike Trujillo (profiled here).

Vilified by local media just last March, written off by many, and even running out of money late, he still brought Buscaino in as the top vote getter in Council District 15.  He had already crushed Pat McOsker and John Shallman early in the race, and McOsker never recovered.  Results: Buscaino-29%; Furutani-22%; Wilson-12%; McOsker-10%. (Complete CD 15 results here)]

Trujillo's team caused trouble for McOsker's team by winning the fight for endorsements they should have easily bagged early, and then locked in enough mail-in votes to assure his candidate a dance in the runoff.

Retail politics also work in San Pedro, and Buscaino was selling them better than others.  

Nonetheless, it's disturbing to all, Tru included, that the top vote-getter couldn't crack 5,000 in a district with 100,000 voters.  That's under 50 votes a precinct--out of over 1,000 potential voters a precinct.  It makes you wonder if precinct captains might be the ticket in future open seat City Council races.

The big loser locally was John Shallman, who phoned it in for yet another paycheck, even at one point recycling one mailer from an old campaign.  He didn't even finish third--he finished a bad fourth, not even fetching 10%--Stephen Box territory.  

Shallman doesn't work the blogosphere, and as long as he doesn't have a savvier sidekick along for the ride, he will continue to get buried early in races because of it.  With decreasing media interest in local races the blogosphere sets early trends and in truth his candidate lost early on.

Either Shallman will change or more people will get wise.  But last night's result probably gives Parke Skelton, another old-school type, pause as well.  While Trujillo was giving the McOsker team fits in August and laying Buscaino's ground game and working anyone willing to be worked, Skelton was on a three week vacation and unreachable even by his own office people.

Shallman's successful handling of Mitch Englander last year was flukish as Englander raised more than enough money early and he also had another adult on board in the personage of his uncle.  

Shallman's 2009 stand-alone handling of Chris Essel was far more representative of who he has become--until last night.

Also losing last night: The Los Angeles Times.  The candidate they endorsed, Gordon Teuber, finished a dismal 6th, way, way out of the money.

(Joseph Mailander is a writer, an LA observer and a contributor to CityWatch. He blogs at street-hassle.blogspot.com where this column first appeared.) –cw

Tags: CD 15, CD 15 Election, Joe Buscaino, Mike Trujillo, Pat McOsker, John Shallman, Furutani, Mitch Englander, Chris Essel, City Council

Vol 9 Issue 90
Pub: Nov 11, 2011