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Los Angeles votes for new mayor, in primary poll

Los Angeles City Controller Wendy Greuel talks to reporters after casting her ballot on March 5, 2013 in Los Angeles
Los Angeles City Controller Wendy Greuel talks to reporters after casting her ballot in the Los Angeles mayoral primary on March 5, 2013. Eight candidates are in the running, although the frontrunners are Greuel and Eric Garcetti, both of whom have campai

Los Angeles residents voted in a primary ballot on Tuesday to elect a successor to mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, with a run-off expected in May to decide who leads America's second largest city.

Eight candidates are in the running, although the frontrunners are Wendy Greuel and Eric Garcetti, both of whom have campaigned on cutting business taxes to spur economic recovery.

Villaraigosa, one of America's most high-profile Latino political leaders since taking office in 2005, cannot stand for re-election after two terms at the helm of the vast West Coast metropolis.

The candidates -- who also include a former radio talk show host, Kevin James -- have been campaigning for months, but the race has mostly been low-profile until Tuesday's first vote.

City Controller Greuel, who spent five years at movie giant DreamWorks, has faced questions over financial backing from labor unions, as well as a pledge to increase police ranks by 2,000. She is 51.

Eric Garcetti speaks after voting at Allesandro Elemantary School on March 5, 2013 in Boyle Heights area of Los Angeles
Candidate in the Los Angeles City mayoral race, Councilman Eric Garcetti speaks after voting at Allesandro Elemantary School on March 5, 2013 in Boyle Heights area of Los Angeles.

Garcetti, whose showbiz links drew an endorsement from comic Will Ferrell, has a more international background, having studied at Oxford University and the London School of Economics. The 42-year-old has Mexican and Jewish roots.

As well as Greuel, Garcetti and Jones, the other candidates are LA Councilwoman Jan Perry, former tech company executive Emanuel Pleitez, Yehuda Draiman, Norton Sandler and Addie M. Miller.

A weekend poll gave Garcetti 27 percent and Greuel 25 percent support among LA's 1.8 million voters. Turnout is expected to be lower than the 34 percent in 2005, when Villaraigosa became the city's first Latino mayor in modern times.

If nobody wins an outright majority, the two leading candidates will go head-to-head in a run-off election scheduled for May 21. Polls were due to close at 8:00 pm (0400 GMT Wednesday.)

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