This story first appeared in the April 12 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
At his current pace, Los Angeles mayoral candidate Eric Garcetti just might appear on every block between Highland Avenue and Pacific Coast Highway before the May 21 runoff election. Showbiz donors have played an unprecedented role in financing the city councilman's campaign and that of his opponent, City Controller Wendy Greuel.
But what sets Garcetti's effort apart is his pace. He has appeared at more than 750 fundraisers and meet-and-greets since kicking off his campaign in October 2011, sometimes two and three a day -- unheard of for an L.A. mayoral race. In February and March alone, Garcetti attended more than 40 gatherings at venues as diverse as Fran Drescher's Beverly Hills home and Soho House. Mixers have been hosted by writer-producers Marshall Herskovitz and Ed Zwick, Global Green CEO Matt Petersen, producer Jason Gurvitz and HBO's Michael Lombardo. A dinner at the Hancock Park home of Overbrook's James and Mai Lassiter raised $300,000.
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Polls show a tight race, with Garcetti and Greuel each having raised about $4 million as of the most recent reporting period. Both have deep Hollywood support: Greuel, a one-time studio exec, is backed by Steven Spielberg, David Geffen and Jeffrey Katzenberg; Garcetti's finance chief is Sony's Eric Paquette, and his earliest supporters included Michael Eisner and Steven Bochco. While Greuel has gravitated toward fewer but larger events, Garcetti has opted for smaller gatherings. Jokes Garcetti backer and Tennis Channel executive Ken Solomon, "He makes me feel like I'm a layabout."