Los Angeles City Councilman Bernard Parks has hired another prominent gun in his campaign to unseat Mayor James Hahn.
Last week, Parks brought on Carol Butler as his campaign manager, adding to the team that already included nationally known consultants Chris Lehane and Eric Jaye. Most of the other L.A. mayoral candidates have hired local consultants.
Lehane was communications director for John Kerry's presidential campaign last year. (He quit before Kerry's string of primary victories began, reportedly after lobbying Kerry unsuccessfully to take a more aggressive stance toward then-frontrunner Howard Dean.) Then he briefly joined the presidential campaign of Gen. Wesley Clark. Jaye is a Bay Area Democratic strategist who helped guide Gavin Newsom's successful campaign for mayor of San Francisco and before that, Secretary of State Kevin Shelley's campaign.
Together, Jaye and Lehane helped craft Parks' "anti-Hahn" strategy on key issues like the LAX overhaul and the mayor's decision to implement a three-day, 12-hour-per-day workweek for LAPD officers. The strategy has given Parks a lot of free media and helped raise his profile.
While Jaye and Lehane continue helping to refine the message, Butler who has run U.S. Senate races in Michigan, Oregon and Texas will handle day-to-day operations. She will focus on building grass-roots support and boosting fundraising, she said. As of Sept. 30, Parks had raised $400,000, far less than rivals Hahn, City Councilman Antonio Villaraigosa and former state Assembly Speaker Bob Hertzberg.
In contrast with Parks, Villaraigosa and Hertzberg are relying on local help.
Villaraigosa's campaign is run by Parke Skelton, who ran his 2001 race and has been on the local political scene for 25 years.
Hertzberg's campaign manager, John Shallman, has also been focused on helping locals get elected to office, most notably Orange County's Rep. Loretta Sanchez.
Hahn's campaign manager, Bill Carrick, has been a national strategist, most recently running the media campaign for Missouri Democrat Rep. Richard Gephardt's failed run for his party's presidential nomination.
Carrick led Hahn's successful 2001 mayoral campaign, the campaign against San Fernando Valley secession and campaigns for U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein and former L.A. Mayor Richard Riordan.
The other major mayoral candidate, Sen. Richard Alarcon, has hired statewide Democrat consultant Richie Ross to run his campaign. Ross most recently ran Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante's failed bid for governor in the recall campaign.
More Campaign News
L.A. City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo and L.A. City Controller Laura Chick both face negligible opposition as they run for re-election next March. Yet their approaches to funding their campaigns couldn't be more different.
Delgadillo, who so far is running unopposed, has raised $1.1 million over the last 18 months and has spent $460,000.
Chick, who faces a token opponent in Mervin Evans, only formed a re-election committee on Oct. 14 and has yet to report any funds raised. (Evans, who polled 10 percent of the vote in the three-way race for controller in 2001 that Chick won, hasn't reported raising any funds either.)
Delgadillo campaign consultant Larry Grisolano said the city attorney has been raising money in case an opponent emerges before the Nov. 13 filing deadline. But it's considered unlikely someone else will enter the race, especially given Delgadillo's huge war chest.
Local government watchers say there could be another reason Delgadillo has been raising so much money: to boost his profile in preparation for a run for higher office.
He's considered a likely candidate for mayor in 2009, especially if L.A. Mayor James Hahn is re-elected next year to his second and last term. There was even some speculation that Delgadillo might run for state Attorney General in 2006, although that died down after Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown announced he was looking at that office.
Chick said the lack of a challenger with a legitimate shot at winning was the main reason for her deciding not to fundraise. "If I don't absolutely need to go out and raise funds for a traditional campaign, then I'm not going to," Chick said.
His e-mails have been subpoenaed, several of his senior staff members left earlier this year, and he's been accused of sheltering his boss from a federal investigation involving the city's contracting policies.
Despite all that, Tim McOsker, chief of staff to L.A. Mayor James Hahn, says he's got "the best job in the building."
"My parents have left the park, the rides are still on a little faster, a little bumpier and a little scarier at times but I'm loving every minute of this job," he told a gathering of the Los Angeles Current Affairs Forum.
McOsker, who had been a private sector municipal law attorney before joining Hahn when the mayor was city attorney, comes from a politically connected family: one brother is president of United Firefighters Los Angeles, while another serves on the Harbor Area Planning Commission.
On most days, he and fellow San Pedro resident Hahn carpool up the Harbor (110) Freeway to work.
As for the mayor's response to the unfolding pay-to-play investigation, McOsker said: "Our immediate response was urging everyone to be completely open and honest and completely forthright and provide whatever information was being asked of them," he said.
Staff reporter Howard Fine can be reached at (323) 549-5225, ext. 227, or at firstname.lastname@example.org .
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