LOS ANGELES – Voters are deciding on Tuesday who should be the city's next leading man, but the mayor's race hasn't exactly set the electorate on fire, a fact that Mayor Jim Hahn (search) knows too well.
"You know there are a lot of distractions in life and certainly a lot of things going on in L.A.," Hahn told FOX News.
Hahn is in danger of becoming the city's first incumbent mayor in 32 years to lose his seat in a re-election race. His lackluster administration is under state and federal investigation for alleged corruption and contracting irregularities.
A dozen Angelenos qualified for the ballot but only a few are credible challengers. Among them is City Councilman Antonio Villaraigosa (search), a rising Latino political star who lost a bitter race against Hahn four years ago. He is now leading in the polls.
"People are responding to me favorably because they've seen me in action. They realize L.A. can do better than we have over the past four years," Villaraigosa said.
Next in line is former California Assembly Speaker Bob Hertzberg (search), who has surged into second place running on a platform of fixing Los Angeles' failing schools and legendary traffic problems.
Hahn places third in recent polls, but fourth is former Police Chief Bernard Parks (search), fired by Hahn in 2002. He is likely to siphon off much of the black vote that was once a key Hahn constituency.
"The mayor unfortunately has to run on his own record ... and although he might say he's accomplished a number of things, the public doesn't believe that," Parks said.
In a city where it often seems the only important votes cast are for the Oscar nominees, the day-in-day-out of running the city lacks star power, especially today, said veteran political reporter Rick Orlov.
"L.A. is just not a town where people talk about politics that much. It's hard to get them interested, to get people interested," Orlov, of the Los Angeles Daily News, said.
Hertzberg said Los Angeles needs a leader who will get people interested.
"The role of the mayor is somebody who is larger than life and somebody who just brings energy and imagination and embodies the energy and imagination of this city," he said.
Polls show a statistical tie among the top three contenders, and unless one of them gets more than 50 percent of the vote, a runoff between the top two finishers will be held in May.
Click in the box near the top of the story to watch a report by FOX News' Anita Vogel.