John Lee appears to have won the race to represent the northwest San Fernando Valley on the L.A. City Council, bringing an unofficial end to a contest that reflected a changing part of L.A., but not enough to flip a traditionally conservative seat on a mostly Democrat dais.
Update: LA City Council recognizes John Lee as winner in San Fernando Valley special election
With 100% of precincts counted, the final tally Tuesday night showed Lee with 16,724 votes, and opponent Loraine Lundquist with 15,395 votes, according to the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder. And that was enough for Lee to claim a victory.
“I feel great,” Lee said as a group of supporters cheered him on at his Porter Ranch headquarters. “We’re celebrating tonight and tomorrow we’re going to work. We’ll start talking about how to bring this community together. We’re realizing that we have the same goals and we need to start working towards those goals.”
Lundquist said her team was still waiting to receive the final results.
“I want to say congratulations to John Lee,” she said. “He’s run a really good race. At the same time, we’re going to wait until all the ballots are counted. We have a lot of provisional ballots, absentee ballots that do need to be counted.”
CD-12 candidates John Lee and Loraine Lundquist took questions from the audience at a Galpin Ford meeting room on Monday, July 15, 2019. (Photo by Gene Blevins/Contributing Photographer)
The area has been the most Republican stronghold in a liberal city for the past several decades. A Lundquist win would have flipped that seat on the 15-member Los Angeles City Council, making it an all-Democrat body.
The seat to represent Council District 12, which encompasses Porter Ranch, Granada Hills, West Hills and Chatsworth, has been traditionally occupied by Republicans, including Councilman Hal Bernson, his top aide Councilman Greig Smith, who eventually passed it to Englander, his chief of staff.
Loraine Lundquist, right, with her family, as she votes on Tuesday. She ran for the Los Angeles City Council District 12 seat, Aug. 13, 2019. (Photo by David Crane, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)
But with the emergence of Lundquist, who is a Democrat driven by strong stances on social and environmental justice issues, the political dynamic in the district has been in a state of change, potentially disrupting the path for Lee.
There are roughly 169,000 registered voters in CD 12. The number of Republicans in the district has decreased from 37% of registered voters to 24% this year while Democrats remained around 44% of voters, according to the L.A. County Registrar’s Office.