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What’s next for Wendy Greuel?

Wendy Greuel may jump right back into politics after losing to Eric Garcetti in the LA mayor's race.
Wendy Greuel may jump right back into politics after losing to Eric Garcetti in the LA mayor's race.
Wendy Greuel Campaign

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Wendy Greuel says she’s taking a much-needed break after her loss to Eric Garcetti in the Los Angeles mayor’s race and leaving the L.A. city controller's office on July 1.

“This will be the first time in my entire life that I will be off work for more than ten days,” Greuel said.  “I’m kind of a workaholic.”

Greuel, 52, recalled that she graduated from UCLA on a Thursday, for example, and went to work for Mayor Tom Bradley on the following Monday. The rest of her biography is well known by now – she worked in the Clinton Administration, for Dreamworks, and was elected to the L.A. city council before serving as City Controller.

“The advice I’ve gotten from so many people is don’t jump too quickly into whatever you’re going to do next,” she said in a recent conversation.

But Greuel offered that she may return to politics right away. She said supporters have talked to her about running for one of two offices next year.

“L.A. County Supervisor and State Controller are two things people have discussed with me,” she said.

If Greuel runs for supervisor, she’d compete in the Third District, which includes much of her home base in the San Fernando Valley and stretches from Hollywood to Santa Monica. She’d face former state Senator Sheila Kuehl, among others, for the seat being vacated by Zev Yaroslavsky. 

Political consultant Kerman Maddox, who has advised Greuel in the past, said she'd make a strong candidate.

"The upside for Wendy is her name identification is very high because the mayor's race generated considerable media exposure," Maddox said.  "I also think most voters still have a favorable impression of her." Greuel lost to Garcetti by a 54-46 margin.

Greuel might have a harder time in a run for state controller — she’s less known to statewide voters. Other Democrats who’ve filed statements of intention to succeed the termed-out John Chaing include Betty Yee, a member of the State Board of Equalization from San Francisco, former state Senator Dean Florez of Bakersfield and former Assemblyman Dario Frommer from Los Angeles.

"If she decides to run for county supervisor or state controller, she absolutely must win," Maddox said. "Another loss coming so quickly after losing in the high profile mayor's race could be a problem for her future political ambitions."

The loss in the mayor’s race was a first for Greuel, who was elected twice to the city council and controller's office. She said she’s heard one thing over and over from politicians who’ve suffered losses, including former President Clinton and U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer:

“They all say, 'We lost an election and then we came back and won another.'”

If she’s going to run, Greuel probably needs to decide by Labor Day. Primaries for both the supervisor’s seat and state controller are next June.