The country’s second-largest city will soon have a new leader, with City Councilman Eric Garcetti winning the Los Angeles mayoral race.
Garcetti defeated fellow Democrat and City Controller Wendy Greuel in Tuesday’s runoff election, bringing an end to the nearly two-year long race to succeed the city’s outgoing mayor, Democrat Anthony Villaraigosa.
When he’s sworn in on July 1, Garcetti will become the city’s first elected Jewish mayor, and at only 42-years-old will be the youngest mayor in a century. Greuel would have been the city’s first female mayor.
Despite being outspent by Greuel and outside groups backing her, Garcetti never lost his lead in the polls, and preliminary results on Wednesday showed Garcetti besting Greuel by eight points, 54%-46%.
The drawn-out race cost more than $33 million, with outside groups spending $7.7 million to back Greuel, compared to just $2.7 million for Garcetti. One of Greuel’s largest backers was the union that represents the city-controlled Department of Water and Power—an endorsement which Garcetti repeatedly slammed her for, painting her as a puppet for the city’s unpopular public works sector.
Greuel had racked up high-profile endorsements in the race, including former President Bill Clinton, Sen. Barbara Boxer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. Garcetti was backed by former DNC Chairman Howard Dean and Obama strategist David Axelrod.
Garcetti, whose father was longtime Los Angeles County District Attorney Gil Garcetti, has served on the Los Angeles City Council since 2011, representing Hollywood, Silver Lake and Echo park, and served as president of the council from 2006 until 2012. A Rhodes Scholar who went to Columbia University and the London School of Economics, he taught public policy at Occidental College and the University of Southern California before entering politics. He’s a fourth generation Angeleno, whose grandparents and great-grandparents immigrated to California from Mexico and Eastern Europe, and he’s fluent in Spanish.
Turnout was incredibly light, though slightly higher than initial numbers from the March primary. According to the Los Angeles Times, around 19% of registered voters went to the polls, casting about 345,000 ballots in a city with 1.8 million registered voters.