Incumbent David Ryu conceded the Los Angeles City Council District 4 race Friday to challenger Nithya Raman, who maintained a consistent lead as vote-counting continued and expanded it enough to seal the victory.
Raman had 52.4% of the vote as of Friday afternoon, with nearly 6,000 votes separating the pair. Raman’s lead over Ryu grew about 600 votes Friday compared to Thursday’s numbers.
There are still more than 600,000 ballots to be counted across the county, according to the Los Angeles Registrar Recorder/County Clerk’s office, but it was unclear how many are from the council district.
“The voters of District Four have spoken, and I respect the outcome of this election,” Ryu said in a prepared statement late Friday afternoon. “I am proud of the race we (ran) and I will always be proud of the diverse coalition behind this campaign, working people, Democratic Party leaders and hundreds of volunteers and community leaders from across Council District Four.
“I congratulate my opponent on her victory. Having won on a wave of reform five years ago, I know how difficult it is to implement change in City Hall. I wish her success in continuing our shared goal of reform in local government and in serving our city.”
Raman is an urban planner, homeless advocate and a former executive director of Time’s Up Entertainment, a nonprofit that works against sexual harassment and abuse in the workforce.
“This is a moment of hope,” Raman said in a prepared statement Wednesday. “…There is absolutely no doubt that progress won in Los Angeles last night. The incredible victories by the movements for radical, carceral, environmental and housing justice will reverberate throughout our city for years to come.”
Council President Nury Martinez congratulated Raman on her victory Friday afternoon.
“I’m excited to have a third woman of color join this council, and I know she is going to bring her knowledge, energy and passion to hit the ground running,” Martinez said. “I look forward to working with her.”
Ryu championed himself as a reformist on the council and pushed for more transparency in government and touted his efforts to bring A Bridge Home transitional housing projects to his district. Had he won reelection, Ryu said he would have prioritized the city’s budget, which has been hampered by COVID-19, to continue to deliver the most critical city services.
“This job, and my entire life, have been about serving the people of this city,” Ryu said during an online election-night briefing. “No matter what happens in this election, I promise you that I will never stop serving my city and I will never stop fighting for what is right. This campaign has never been about me. It has been about us, and the city that we can build together.”
Ryu tried to get a rent cancellation ordinance passed earlier this year due to the pandemic, but it failed to get enough support after City Attorney’s Office representatives questioned whether the city had the authority to completely halt rent payments.
Raman has been working with nonprofit organizations, and said she would work to help reduce the city’s homeless population by protecting tenants and lowering rents.
On policing, Raman said she wants to remove armed officers from situations in which they aren’t needed, while maintaining the ability to protect people against violence.
That stance is similar to Ryu’s, though the two clashed over whose proposal would be better.
Both candidates secured high-profile endorsements. Vermont Democratic Sen. Bernie Sanders endorsed Raman and Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi endorsed Ryu. The Democratic Socialists of America’s Los Angeles chapter also congratulated Raman on her win.
Raman ran a star-studded campaign, appearing on her social media platforms with endorsements from celebrities such as Natalie Portman and Adam Scott, and hosting events with comedian Hannibal Buress.
In the primary, Ryu was forced into the runoff with Raman, as he finished with 44.7% of the vote to Raman’s 41.1% in the district that includes the Hollywood Hills and South San Fernando Valley.
In the District 10 City Council race, county Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas easily defeated Grace Yoo, an attorney and community advocate, in Tuesday’s election.
Martinez congratulated Mark Ridley-Thomas via social media Tuesday night.
Ridley-Thomas will replace Councilman Herb Wesson, who ran for Ridley-Thomas’ county seat but lost to Sen. Holly Mitchell.
During the campaign, Ridley-Thomas touted his sponsorship of Measure H, the county ballot measure expected to generate more than $3.5 billion over 10 years to build supportive housing to combat homelessness. He is also a co- chair on Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Council of Regional Homeless Advisors.
Ridley-Thomas said he wants to transform public transportation, the criminal justice system and enhance renewable energy opportunities. He served on the City Council from 1991 to 2002, so he can only serve for another four years, per the city’s term limits.
The district includes much of central and South Los Angeles, including communities such as Koreatown, Mid City, Leimert Park, Arlington Heights, West Adams and Little Ethiopia.