A tired but jubilant Ron Galperin declared victory Wednesday in his quest to become Los Angeles' next city controller, attributing his win to voters who "did their homework."
Galperin, a little-known Century City lawyer, pulled off a lopsided defeat of three-term City Councilman Dennis Zine in unofficial election results. Galperin polled 56% of the vote compared with 44% for Zine.
There are still mail-in ballots to be counted, but the results are not expected to change substantially.
Every major poll leading up to the election showed Zine, 65, a retired LAPD sergeant, with a substantial lead over Galperin. But the polls also indicated that up to 40% of voters hadn't made up their minds on which candidate to back.
That means that the people who backed Galperin on election day compared his experience with that of Zine and probably also read editorials in three major newspapers backing him, Galperin said early Wednesday after getting a couple of hours' sleep.
"It would definitely seem that people did their homework,'' he said. "We didn't have a great many voters. But the voters we did have seem to have done their homework."
It will be Galperin's first political office. He said he gained a deep understanding of city hall finances and bureaucratic complexities while serving as chairman of two city finance commissions.
Zine had not contacted Galperin as of 7 a.m. Wednesday or released a statement conceding the race.