"There will be prodigious fundraising on both sides and it's going to be a competitive race," said Jessica Levinson, a Loyola Law School professor and member of the Los Angeles Ethics Commission.
Two independent expenditure committees were formed during the primary campaign by business interests to support Shriver's candidacy. There is likely to be more such activity in the runoff, Levinson said.
But that spending, which can't be coordinated with candidates, can carry political risks, Levinson noted. In last year's L.A. mayoral contest, Wendy Greuel won labor's backing and more than $3 million in support from independent groups, much of it from a union representing Department of Water and Power workers. She lost to Eric Garcetti, who portrayed himself as a more fiscally responsible choice who would stand up to labor pressure for richer contracts.
"Independent spending can backfire,'' Levinson said. "Wendy Greuel became 'The DWP's mayor.' That did not help her."