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Incumbents reign in city council races


Six members of the Los Angeles City Council were celebrating re-election victories today, while Councilman Curren Price appeared to have won as well, but by a tenuous margin over activist/businessman Joe Bray-Ali.

With all precincts reporting from Tuesday’s election, Price finished with 50.98 percent of the vote, appearing to win re-election outright. But it was unclear early Wednesday how many provisional or questioned ballots in the district remain to be tallied, and whether the final count might land the incumbent under the 50 percent threshold to avoid a May 16 runoff.

Cedillo has a 1,952-vote lead over Bray-Ali, a bike activist and former bike shop owner.

Of the three challengers looking to unseat Cedillo in the 1st Council District, which includes Highland Park and Lincoln Heights, Bray-Ali received a significant bump when the Los Angeles Times endorsed him despite his lack of political experience. Bray-Ali earned The Times’ nod over Cedillo, a seasoned political veteran first elected to the seat in 2013 and who also served 14 years in the Assembly and state Senate.

Despite his lack of experience with elected office, The Times board hailed Bray-Ali’s “understanding of land-use policy” and his business experience.

Even with the high-profile endorsement, money and history were not on Bray-Ali’s side. Cedillo held a significant fundraising advantage, with $448,129 raised to Bray-Ali’s $106,603 through March 1. There was also the fact that no incumbent has been unseated in a City Council race since 2003, and in that instance Antonio Villaraigosa did so by coming into the race as a high-profile former Assembly speaker.

Cedillo had the backing of the political establishment, with the endorsements of Gov. Jerry Brown, Sen. Kamala Harris, Mayor Eric Garcetti and Council President Herb Wesson.

One race that is heading for a runoff is the battle for the vacant 7th District seat. Former city Board of Public Works member Monica Rodriguez will square off in the runoff with Karo Torossian, a staffer for Councilman Paul Krekorian. Rodriguez topped the field of 20 candidates with about 27 percent of the vote.

The seat was open due to former Councilman Felipe Fuentes stepping down in September to work as a lobbyist.

Rodriguez received the endorsement of Garcetti and from seven council members, along with Rep. Tony Cardenas and the police and firefighter unions. She has also raised the most money, with $393,127. Torossian raised the second most in the race, with $237,273, and also picked up Krekorian’s endorsement and that of the Democratic Party of the San Fernando Valley.

In the 5th Council District, Councilman Paul Koretz easily fended off challenges from Jesse Creed, an attorney, and political consultant Mark Herd. Creed had raised the most money of any challenger looking to unseat an incumbent in any other race.

Development has been a big issue in the 5th District, which includes a number of wealthy areas such as Encino, Cheviot Hills, Bel-Air and Westwood that have many residents concerned about traffic and over-building. Creed has made it his campaign’s focus, pledging not to take any money from developers during his campaign or while he is in office, while Koretz painted himself as a deal-maker who gets developers and the community to compromise.

In the 9th Council District, incumbent Curren Price handily defeated challengers Jorge Nuno, an activist and graphic designer, and neighborhood council member Adriana Cabrera to continue representing the district, which stretches from the southern part of downtown into South Los Angeles. The district has had a Black representative on the council since the 1960s but has become a majority Latino district over the years.

In the 11th Council District, which includes the Westside communities of Venice Beach, Brentwood and Pacific Palisades, Councilman Mike Bonin won easily over Mark Ryavec, a political activist, and Robin Rudisill, a former member of the Venice Neighborhood Council.

In the 13th District, which includes Echo Park, Silver Lake and part of Hollywood, Councilman Mitch O’Farrell also won easily, outpacing five challengers.

In the 15th Council District, which includes San Pedro and Watts, Councilman Joe Buscaino had no difficulty in the race against challengers Noel Gould and Caney Arnold.

In the 3rd Council District, Councilman Bob Blumenfield ran unopposed.