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LA mayor's race wide open after fundraising reports

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 01:  Signs showing "Sister Cities" stand in front of Los Angeles City Hall after a protest march during the "Occupy Los Angeles"demonstration in solidarity with the ongoing "Occupy Wall Street" protest in New York City on October 1, 2011 in Los Angeles, California. The protesters slogan, "We are the 99 percent," calls attention to the fact that marchers are not part of the one percent of Americans who hold a vast portion of the nation's wealth.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
At least four major contenders are vying for the mayor's office at City Hall. The election isn't until March 2013.

Campaign finance reports filed Tuesday indicate four people lead a large field of candidates seeking to succeed Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

City Controller Wendy Greuel and City Councilman Eric Garcetti raised more than a million dollars each through Dec. 31. City Councilwoman Jan Perry hauled in $827,000. Investment banker Austin Beutner raised $627,000 without relying on his own considerable wealth.

Analysts say candidates need about $2 million to compete in the March 2013 mayoral primary.

Each campaign sought to spin the numbers in their favor.

“While money isn’t everything in a campaign, it sure is an early indicator of support, momentum, and energy behind a candidate,” said Greuel strategist John Shallman.

Garcetti's camp boasted that even though he entered the race later, and raise money faster than the other candidates. “I'm humbled that so many people from across Los Angeles are stepping forward to join my campaign to fix our economy and reform City Hall," Garcetti said.

Perry's strategist Eric Hacopian said his candidate's fundraising reflected "a diverse base of supporters" who see Perry as "the only reformer running for mayor. The councilwoman, who represents downtown L.A., also enjoyed substantial support from business interests there.

Beutner used the release of campaign finance reports to attack his opponents.

“The very ritual of bragging about money raised by politicians from special interests they are supposed to oversee or regulate is one of the reasons why so little changes in our city," Beutner said in a statement. "I’m building a campaign built on ideas — ideas to create jobs, ideas to fix problems and the independence needed to get things done.”

One other candidate reached six-figure fundraising — conservative talk radio host and attorney Kevin James raised $150,000.

Seven other candidates raised little or no money.

One of the biggest questions surrounding the mayor's race remains whether L.A. County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky will throw his hat into the ring. He's flirted with the idea for years, and will term out in his current position in 2014.

The developer of The Grove and Americana at Brand, Rick Caruso, is also mulling a run. But Caruso has joined Joe Torre in bidding for the Dodgers. If they are successful, its unlikely Caruso would run for mayor.