Local Democrats endorse Ryu over Ramsay in May 19 L.A. council runoff

L.A. County Democratic Party backs candidate David Ryu for District 4 runoff

A week after Election Day, it still isn’t clear whether David Ryu will make it into the May 19 runoff to represent a Los Angeles City Council district stretching from Sherman Oaks to the Miracle Mile.

But that didn’t stop Ryu from snapping up the endorsement of the county Democratic Party this week, even as ballots continue to be counted in the closely contested race.

“I am excited that our campaign is attracting new supporters in our fight to put neighborhood voices first at City Hall," Ryu said in a written statement Wednesday reacting to the endorsement.

The group had previously backed candidate Steve Veres in the crowded 14-candidate race to replace termed-out Councilman Tom LaBonge. Veres, an aide to State Sen. Kevin de León, finished sixth, according to unofficial results released last week.

After the polls closed last week, LaBonge aide Carolyn Ramsay was leading, followed by Ryu, a community health center development director. Only 61 votes behind him was Tomas O’Grady, who heads a nonprofit that builds school gardens.

Ryu has held off on declaring he’ll be in the runoff, and O’Grady has warned against counting him out of the race. Election officials say tens of thousands of ballots remain to be counted citywide, though it is unclear how many of those ballots were cast in the LaBonge district.

The county Democratic Party chose between only Ramsay and Ryu as the top-two finishers at the time of its Tuesday meeting. Eric C. Bauman, party chair, said Ryu had impressed them with his energy.

"The L.A. Democratic Party believes there are two solid candidates heading to the runoff" in this district, Bauman said. "Our members chose to endorse David Ryu because of the activist nature and tone of his campaign. ... But in any case, the people of the Fourth Council District will be well-served by an elected official who has a progressive view to move Los Angeles forward."

Bauman added that if Ryu did not ultimately make the runoff, his group would reconsider its endorsement at its next meeting.

Ramsay has been picking up endorsements of her own, most notably the backing of City Council President Herb Wesson, who declared his support at a press conference Monday. LaBonge had already endorsed her before the primary, along with council members Mitch O'Farrell and Gil Cedillo.

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