Prang declares victory in close race for L.A. County assessor

Jeff Prang declares victory in assessor's race; John Morris still waiting for final vote count

Candidate Jeffrey Prang declared victory in the race for Los Angeles County assessor Friday, as the latest round of ballot counting made a victory by his opponent highly improbable.

Prang, a West Hollywood city councilman and special assistant in the asssesor's office, has maintained a slim lead over prosecutor John Morris in the race since the Nov. 4 voting ended. The results released Friday showed the lead narrowing slightly. Prang was ahead by about 18,400 ballots, with 50.8% of the vote, to Morris' 49.2%.

A spokesman for the county registrar did not have the exact number of ballots remaining to be counted, but the number appeared to be about 20,000.

On Thursday, a spokesperson for Registrar-Recorder Dean C. Logan said about 60,000 remained. Of that total, about 39,000 absentee and provisional ballots were included in the count update released Friday.

"I think it's clear -- mathematically, it's done," Prang said. "While the final number is to be determined, the outcome has been established, and I'm pleased and thrilled to serve as the next assessor of Los Angeles County."

Morris said he still wanted to wait for the final count before conceding.

"I think every voter deserves to have their vote counted," he said.

Another update is expected early next week, and the registrar will certify the results next Friday.

The winner of the race will be sworn in Dec. 1, replacing assessor John Noguez, who has been absent from the daily operations of the office for the past two years. Noguez, who did not seek reelection, is awaiting trial on felony charges related to allegations that he took bribes in exchange for having property valuations lowered.

Prang held a lead in fundraising throughout the campaign, with supporters contributing $713,000 to his campaign and an independent committee supporting his candidacy. Morris raised about $282,000.

Follow Abby Sewell on Twitter at @sewella for more county news.

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