Longtime council aide John Lee was recognized by the City Council Wednesday as the Councilman-elect for northwestern San Fernando Valley’s 12th District seat.
Although some votes remain to be counted, Lee appears to be the winner over Loraine Lundquist in the special election to fill the seat.
“This has been an interesting four months, and now that the campaigning is over, I’m ready to get down here and start the work,” Lee said in the Council Chambers.
With all 57 precincts reporting, Lee held a 1,329-vote lead over Lundquist, an astrophysicist and longtime “social justice” activist, according to figures released by Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk.
Lee has 16,724 votes to 15,395 for Lundquist, a lead of 52.07 percent to 47.93 percent, with an unknown number of vote-by-mail and provisional ballots remaining to be counted. The next update won’t be until Friday, according to the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk.
“I feel great,” Lee told supporters Tuesday night at his Porter Ranch headquarters, the Daily News reported. “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 congratulated Lee for running “a really good race,” but said she would “wait until all the ballots are counted” before conceding.
“We have a lot of provisional ballots, absentee ballots that do need to be counted,” Lundquist said.
Lee was seeking to become the second aide in the 12th Council District to ascend to council member. He was the chief of staff for then-City Councilman Mitch Englander, who was previously the chief of staff for then-Councilman Greig Smith.
Englander resigned last year to take a job in the private sector, and Smith has been filling the council seat on a temporary basis pending the special election.
Both candidates put forth ideas for addressing homelessness and pointed to their past work on the issue.
Lundquist has been the co-chair of the homelessness committee of Northridge East Neighborhood Council and a founding member of the West Valley Neighborhood Alliance on Homelessness. She said she backs creating more permanent supportive housing to help reduce the number of people on the streets.
According to his website, Lee has volunteered for a variety of charities in his district. One of his goals is to not just get the homeless population off the streets but to help them find employment. He also wants to establish more neighborhood security teams and create a “more effective” intervention system to help families on the brink of losing their home.
Although the race is nonpartisan, District 12 — which includes Chatsworth, Northridge, Porter Ranch, Granada Hills and West Hills — has traditionally leaned Republican. Lee is a Republican. Lundquist is a Democrat.