City Councilman Eric Garcetti’s supporters began filling up the Hollywood Palladium theater long before the first results were released, as the Los Angeles mayoral hopeful awaited returns with his family at a nearby hotel.

The choice of the cavernous venue—the campaign was expecting several thousand supporters Tuesday night—was a hint of the team’s optimism about their chances.

While his opponent, City Controller Wendy Greuel, stumbled in her fundraising efforts in the final days, Garcetti’s campaign was comparatively flush, aides close to Garcetti said, to outgun her in advertising and get-out-the-vote efforts that will be crucial in a low-turnout race.

Many of the Garcetti backers who gathered at the Palladium early in the evening were voters from his district—which covers much of Silver Lake, Echo Park and Hollywood. They were largely optimistic that the race would turn their way, despite the spending on Greuel’s behalf by outside groups. Mingling inside the 1940s-era theater, the one-time hangout of Frank Sinatra, guests sipped champagne and cocktails under the crystal chandeliers as the DJ played DeBarge’s “Rhythm Of The Night.”

Jeffrey Pinchuk, 43, an echocardiographer from Highland Park, said he rushed to a polling spot after work to vote for Garcetti: “He’s the right choice for the future of L.A. – for people like Sam,” Pinchuk said of his 9-year-old son.

“He’s progressive. He’s going to tackle the budget problem and keep us from going underwater,” Pinchuk said, adding that he believed Garcetti had run a more positive campaign.

“Eric hasn’t been doing the same kind of smear,” he said. “There’s been mud-slinging both ways, but he tempered his attacks.”

Pinchuk put his hands in his pockets and rocked back and forth on his feet as he considered how election night would unfold.

“I’m a cup-half-empty kind of guy,” he said. “I don’t think we’ll know tonight.”

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