Eric Garcetti battled a crowded primary field, millions in
outside campaign spending and voter disenchantment
with City Hall to become Los Angeles’ 42nd Mayor.
He succeeded by running a disciplined campaign and
delivering a message of getting L.A. back to the basics,
solving problems and delivering results. The Strategy Group
helped craft and execute the winning strategy.

44% believed the
city was moving in
the wrong direction.

62% wanted greater
focus on improving
basic city services.

68% said getting
people back to work
was a top priority.

With an economy still recovering from the biggest
recession since the Great Depression, voters in the “City of
Angels” weren’t looking for a leader with lofty rhetoric or an
overly bright vision of the city. They yearned for a Mayor who
would get things done – with creating jobs and improving city
services as top priorities.

Eric Garcetti had a record that would appeal to voters’
pragmatic mood. As a city councilmember since 2001,
he helped spark the revitalization of Hollywood and
adjacent neighborhoods.

Highlighting Garcetti’s solid economic record was one
of the primary goals of our direct mail.

Polling showed Garcetti splitting the Democratic vote
with his opponent, City Controller Wendy Greuel.
Research showed that by touting Garcetti’s work to
elect President Obama, his support among Democrats
increased by 21 percent. We used direct mail to
reinforce Garcetti’s progressive credentials, highlighting
his role as co-chair of President Obama’s California
campaign in 2008.

Latinos comprise 30 percent of likely city
voters. Garnering their support would also
prove critical to winning the election. We
created mail for U.S. and Foreign Born Latinos
that emphasized Garcetti’s background as the
grandson of Mexican immigrants.

City Controller Wendy Greuel proved to be a strong
opponent, with resources equaling Garcetti’s,
high-profile endorsements from individuals like President
Bill Clinton and Magic Johnson, and a strong base of
support from women throughout Los Angeles. A central
theme of her campaign – highlighted in appearances and
TV ads - was her claimed success in finding $160 million in
city waste, fraud and abuse as Controller.

Greuel’s claim that she
saved L.A. $160 million wasn’t
supported by the facts.

Financial records showed that Greuel’s audits only
recovered $239,000 for the city, not the $160,000,000
she claimed. We produced a series of mail pieces
emphasizing the message – Wendy Greuel Can’t Get
Her Numbers Straight – that raised doubts about her
tenure as Controller and ability to manage the city’s
finances as Mayor.

Our direct mail campaign was done in concert with an aggressive earned media effort, and helped focus voters’ attention on Greuel’s questionable financial claims just as early voting began and voting patterns were solidifying.

The Result

Garcetti 54%

Greuel 46%

The Strategy Group’s two-track mail campaign that emphasized Garcetti’s strengths
while highlighting his opponents’ weaknesses helped propel him to a 54-46%
Election Day victory. Garcetti outperformed Greuel among voters of nearly every
political party, age group and ethnicity.

In a post-election analysis of the race, the LA Times said:

By focusing on the basics, communicating an
effective message and targeting efficiently,
The Strategy Group helped Eric Garcetti win decisively.