Former City Council aide John Lee took the lead in early vote counting Tuesday evening in the special election to fill the 12th District seat, but was far short of the majority needed to avoid a runoff.
Lee led the field of 15 candidates on the ballot and write-in candidate David Balen with 19.97% of the vote with 3 of 57 precincts, 5.26%, reporting. Loraine Lundquist, a former research scientist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, was second at 18.6%. Former congressional aide Scott Abrams was third at 14.27%.
No other candidate had more than 10% in the race for the northwestern San Fernando Valley seat.
If no candidate receives a majority, the top two finishers will serve out the rest of Mitchell Englander’s term, which ends Dec. 13, 2020. Englander resigned last year to take a job with the Oak View Group, a global sports and entertainment advisory, development and investment company.
Lee was chief legislative deputy to Councilman Greig Smith, who has returned to the council to fill the seat on an interim basis. Lundquist has a doctorate in physics. Her main issues include transitioning Los Angeles to cleaner energy, addressing homelessness and improving city services.
Abrams was a senior aide to Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Sherman Oaks, serving as the director of his Valley constituent service office. He identified his primary issues as housing, traffic reduction, safety and quality of service. To address homelessness, Abrams said he wants to fight for increased federal funding to tackle the problem.
The other candidates are:
— Carlos Amador is a self-described, long-time human rights and civil rights advocate with a foundation of “progressive values of inclusivity, fairness and hard work.” In 2012 he worked on a national campaign calling for the cessation of deportations of undocumented children.
— Jay Beeber is executive director of Safer Streets LA, a traffic-safety advocacy group, and vice president of the North Hills West Neighborhood Council. Beeber said he would work to lower Department of Water and Power bills and mitigate environmental threats.
— Annie Eunwoo Cho said her main issues are addressing homelessness, a topic on which she said she would be “adaptable but relentless at solving,” as well as updating an emergency preparedness plan, helping older residents and reducing traffic congestion. She has been a 30-year resident of her district.
— Jeff Darr, a business owner, said he has resided in the district for decades and has been appointed by three mayors to city commissions. Daar said he has plans to create multiple task forces and work with groups of constituents. He said his main issues are public safety, reducing homelessness and working on ethics policies.
— Charles Sean Dinse is a LAPD senior lead officer, running on a platform of “reinforcing collapsing infrastructure to prevent systems from failing.” He said he wants to improve public safety through educating children while also creating more government transparency.
— Frank Ferry served on the Santa Clarita City Council for 16 years. He said wants to bring change to the City Council in response to ethics concerns, while also working to increase the size of the police force and improving public safety.
— Jack Kayajian has worked at City Hall and in nonprofit organizations in various capacities, including the Mayor’s Office and the City Attorney’s Office. Kayajian’s primary issue is to improve transparency and ethics at City Hall, shorten public safety response times and help local schools.
— Stella Maloyan said she helped build the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy and co-founded Women for a New Los Angeles. Some of her main issues include closing the gender pay gap as well as addressing homelessness and building more affordable housing.
— Raji Rab said he is a seasoned aviator and educator, and hopes to address issues relating to equality and environmental sustainability. Rab also wants to reduce financial penalties assessed on residents by the city.
— Brandon Saario said he is a lifelong resident of the San Fernando Valley and opened a business there. Saario’s campaign is focused on public safety and opposing new taxes. He said he would also work to end Los Angeles’ perceived status as a sanctuary city and work to eliminate homelessness.
— Navaraj Singh is an immigrant who said he came to the United States and worked to open 15 restaurants and created more than 1,000 jobs. He said he would also fight to end the city’s perception as being a sanctuary city, and identified homelessness as one of his top issues.
— Josh Yeager is a professional public affairs and community engagement professional. Yeager said he wants to improve the city’s economic strength and bring more transparency to City Hall.
— David Balen, a write-in candidate, is the vice president at Stewart Title Company of California and spent seven years on the Porter Ranch Community School Booster Board.
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