Villaraigosa unseats Hahn 3-2:

After a lackluster term tainted by corruption allegations at City Hall, Mr. Hahn was turned out of office in favor of a high school dropout and son of the barrio who turned his life around to become speaker of the California Assembly and then a member of the Los Angeles City Council. With 70 percent of precincts reporting, Mr. Villaraigosa had 202,861 votes, or 59 percent, to 140,416 votes for Mr. Hahn, or 41 percent…The contest was a rematch of the 2001 mayoral race, which Mr. Hahn won by seven points after trailing Mr. Villaraigosa for much of the campaign. That race featured a number of late attacks by Mr. Hahn, who repeatedly attacked Mr. Villaraigosa for a letter he had written seeking clemency for a convicted cocaine trafficker. Mr. Hahn’s campaign was similarly negative this time, even using the same slogan, “Los Angeles can’t trust Antonio Villaraigosa.” Mr. Hahn accused his opponent, a former president of the local chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, of being soft on crime. He also noted that Mr. Villaraigosa had accepted thousands of dollars in campaign donations from out-of-state businessmen bidding on city contracts…

Mr. Villaraigosa, who outpolled Mr. Hahn in the primary election by 33 percent to 24 percent, generally ran an upbeat, front-runner’s campaign. Although some of his advertisements noted the federal investigation of possible corruption in city contracting under Mayor Hahn, Mr. Villaraigosa mainly stressed what he called his ability to bring Los Angeles’s varied geographic, ethnic and racial communities together. In this he was aided by Mr. Hahn’s two most significant actions as mayor. In 2002, Mr. Hahn engineered the ouster of Los Angeles Police Chief Bernard Parks, an African-American, which alienated many black voters who had supported Mr. Hahn in 2001. Mr. Hahn also campaigned vigorously to defeat an effort by residents of the San Fernando valley to secede from the city of Los Angeles, angering a part of the city that had provided a major share of his margin of victory over Mr. Villaraigosa four years ago…”If you look at Antonio, he would be a credible candidate from any ethnic group,” said Harry Pachon, director of the Tomas Rivera Policy Institute at the University of Southern California, which studies trends in Latino politics. “He has a liberal background, he’s an ex-president of the A.C.L.U. for Southern California, he has union credentials, he was speaker of Assembly. He’s punched his ticket in so many places.” Dr. Pachon said that Mr. Villaraigosa was also able to split the African-American vote, which had been solidly in Mr. Hahn’s column in 2001. It was the first time a Los Angeles mayoral candidate had successfully melded a Latino-black coalition to win office, he said.

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