Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

Wendy Gruel Says "I'm Ahead" in Congressional Race


February 17, 2014

A poll commissioned by Wendy Greuel’s congressional campaign reportedly shows that she leads Torrance Democrat Ted Lieu by 8 percentage points in a five-way race to succeed Rep. Henry Waxman in Congress.

But the primary election in the 33rd Congressional District is nearly four months away, and representatives for most of Greuel’s opponents either say they believe it is too early to predict how the race will go, or that they’re not concerned with the numbers reported by the opposing campaign.

According to a memo circulated by Greuel’s campaign, the former Los Angeles city controller and mayoral candidate has backing from 29 percent of voters, while fellow Democrat Lieu, a state senator, has 21 percent. Elan Carr, a Los Angeles deputy district attorney and the only Republican in the race, has 19 percent support, and independent Marianne Williamson, an author and activist, has 7 percent. Brent Roske, an entertainment producer and another independent, is polling at 1 percent. Matt Miller, a Democrat who entered the race last week, was not included in the poll.

The polling firm said 20 percent of respondents were undecided.

According to the one-page memo, the poll was conducted of 500 likely primary voters by the Benenson Strategy Group of Santa Monica on Feb. 12 and Feb. 13. It has a margin of error of plus/minus 4.3 percent, according to the firm. The memo does not cover how many voters of each party were questioned. It also does not state whether participants were reached on land lines or mobile phones.

The 33rd Congressional District includes the coastal South Bay, the Westside of Los Angeles and a southwestern chunk of the San Fernando Valley.

Bill Carrick, a spokesman for Lieu’s campaign, said he is not concerned by the survey. He noted that Greuel lost a citywide election for mayor last year, and that her name identification, as a result, is high.

“Earlier on in that campaign we saw Wendy was ahead and, as the campaign went on, she lost support,” said Carrick, who worked for now-Mayor Eric Garcetti in that race. “Obviously, these early polls are mostly name ID measurements. I actually was very surprised that Ted was as close as he was to her. That’s a great sign for his candidacy.”

John Van Winkle, a spokesman for Carr, said in an email that he does not find the polling credible. He also suggested that Greuel still might have some baggage from the mayoral race. She might have been hurt by the fact she was supported by the Department of Water and Power employee union, he said.

“Of course, Greuel would want to downplay us as a threat,” Van Winkle said. “She has to convince the media and voters who rejected her less than a year ago that she’s electable. She wasn’t honest with voters about her relationship with the DWP and she’s not being truthful about her polling numbers.”

Ileana Wachtel, a spokeswoman for Williamson, also criticized Greuel.

“After spending millions of dollars in the Los Angeles media market during last year’s costly mayoral election, it is no surprise that Wendy Greuel starts this race with a significant name identification advantage among likely voters,” Wachtel said in an email.


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