Entries in Mayoral Race (3)


Emanuel Pleitez Looks to LA's Underserved in Mayoral Bid

Emanuel Pleitez/Facebook(LOS ANGELES) -- Emanuel Pleitez believes he's the man who can fix Los Angeles' most pressing problems. But first he'll have to overcome long odds to win the city's mayoral race next year.

The 30-year-old Pleitez is in a crowded field of candidates vying to lead the nation's second-largest city, including established political figures such as City Councilman Eric Garcetti, Councilwoman Jan Perry, and City Controller Wendy Greuel. A recent poll shows Pleitez receiving only two percent support against his better-known candidates. The candidates will go before voters for the first time in a non-partisan primary on March 5.

But Pleitez, the son of immigrants from Mexico and El Salvador, believes that he can use his experience growing up in the El Sereno neighborhood of East Los Angeles to energize disadvantaged communities and put together a winning coalition.

"I'm doing this because there are a bunch of folks in L.A. who are disaffected, disappointed, and frankly unimpressed with the candidates they have," he said in an interview with ABC/Univision. "That's not a spoiler, that's the person who should be considered the best mayor."

Pleitez isn't new to the political scene. He ran in a 2009 congressional special election to replace then-Rep. Hilda Solis (D), who was selected to serve as secretary of labor. But he lost the Democratic nomination to Judy Chu. Before that, Pleitez worked on Obama's transition team. After his failed bid for Congress, he served in the administration's Economic Recovery Advisory Board headed by former Fed chairman Paul Volcker.

He also worked at big-name financial institutions and management consulting firms such as Goldman Sachs and McKinsey and Company, which he left this year to serve as an executive at L.A.-based tech firm Spokeo. But he always returns to his roots -- his mother was pregnant with him when she immigrated to the U.S. and he became the first member of his family to graduate from college, getting a degree from Stanford. Pleitez tries to present both his humble origins and his star-studded résumé as positives.

"It's not like I'm coming out of nowhere," says Pleitez. "I've got more relevant experience to actually understand solutions, but more importantly, know what it's like to struggle and actually understand these problems firsthand."

Yet, Pleitez has experienced some trouble breaking through. Earlier this month, he failed to meet fundraising benchmarks to participate in a televised candidates debate. But a group of young supporters protested the event, chatting "Let Pleitez debate!" L.A. Weekly reported. Pleitez tells ABC/Univision he has been invited to at least half a dozen future candidate forums and debates.

Though the number seem stacked against him, Pleitez insists his campaign's use of technology and social media, as well as door-to-door contacts, will help him turn out enough of his voters to win on Election Day, especially from neighborhoods in East and South L.A. that have traditionally been neglected by other political campaigns. It's akin to a scaled-down version of President Obama's successful voter outreach strategy.

"My message sticks, it's a question of whether I get in front of the right voters," he said. " I'm completely confident that we're going to rise in the polls, especially in the next month or so. I don't care where I am now, I care where I am on March 5."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Rahm Emanuel Ahead in Chicago Mayoral Race as Polls Open

Photo Courtesy - Chicago for Rahm Emanuel(CHICAGO) -- Voters in Chicago will head to the polls Tuesday to choose a replacement for long-time Mayor Richard Daley, who chose to not seek a record seventh term.

According to the latest polls, former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel is the front-runner in the mayoral race, trailed by his opponents, former Sen. Carol Moseley Braun and longtime city official Gery Chico.

If no candidate wins a majority, the top two vote-getters will square off in a runoff election April 5.

Since Daley announced he would not seek reelection, Emanuel has led the pack in polling and fund-raising, amassing more than $12 million in campaign contributions.

An attempt by Rev. Jackson and others to solidify African-American support behind Braun has largely fizzled as the former senator's campaign has launched an aggressive TV ad campaign comparing his hardscrabble youth growing up near the old city stockyards to Emanuel's comfortable upbringing in a North Shore suburb.

Chico has also scored points attacking what he derisively calls "the Rahm Tax," an Emanuel plan to replace part of the 9.75 percent local sales tax, now the highest in the country, with a tax on undefined luxury services.

Whoever wins inherits daunting financial challenges in a city facing a $655 million budget gap in the current fiscal year and unfunded pension liabilities estimated at more than $20 billion.´╗┐

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Rahm Emanuel Tries to Prove His Chicago Residency

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(CHICAGO) -- In Washington, Rahm Emanuel had the President’s ear, directed the White House staff, strong-armed members of Congress, and enjoyed his status as a powerful political operative. Now, running for mayor of Chicago, Emanuel finds himself embroiled in an acrimonious debate about his residency -- fending off endless questions about such mundane matters as the city sticker on his car, the clothes left behind in his Chicago home, and the hotels his family stayed in during their visits to the city.

For more than six hours, Emanuel calmly endured sometimes-hostile questions from ordinary citizens and an attorney representing political opponents who want him thrown off the ballot in Chicago’s Feb. 22 mayoral election.  Emanuel chuckled as election lawyer Burton Odelson asked him pointedly, “You’re aware that the statutes in Illinois require that a candidate be a resident of the municipality for one year prior to the election?” Emanuel's attorneys argue that the election law hinges on intent and that, by keeping a Chicago home and voting absentee from Chicago, he demonstrated his intention to remain a citizen of the city he hopes to run.

Odelson displayed real estate pictures of empty rooms in Emanuel’s north side home, apparently in an effort to demonstrate the family took nearly all of their possessions to Washington. “That room is the kitchen?” Odelson asked. “Very good, Mr. Odelson, yes,” Emanuel answered. The mayoral candidate described family items left in storage at the home, including his wife’s wedding dress, family pictures, china, a piano, and a coat worn by his grandfather. 

Emanuel testified that he rented out the home after being named President Obama’s chief of staff. His tenant, Rob Halpin, refused to move out when Emanuel indicated his desire to run for mayor and, briefly, considered a mayoral run himself before dropping out of the race.  

Opponents picked away at Emanuel’s car registration, the terms of his lease, and the schools in which his children were enrolled.  Emanuel, looking alternately bemused and frustrated, responded to a question about e-mails from his wife regarding a car registration sticker by saying, “I’ve learned after 15 years not to doubt my wife.” 

The hearing, expected to last two more days, will produce a recommendation to the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners.  Its final decision will undoubtedly be appealed in Illinois courts.  So the quarrelsome battle over Rahm’s residency is likely to continue right up until the election and, quite possibly, well beyond it.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio´╗┐

ABC News Radio