While City Council election winner Paula Devine had support from nearly every corner of the city, most of the precincts she dominated were in Glendale’s northern region, according to an analysis of Los Angeles County Registrar/Recorder data.
Devine swept all precincts in the La Crescenta/Montrose/Sparr Heights area and nearly every precinct in the northeast region. She also took the majority of the northwest precincts, although some along the San Fernando Road Corridor were snapped up by runner-up Vartan Gharpetian and fourth-place finisher Chahe Keuroghelian.
Rick Barnes, who placed in third out of the five candidates for a single seat on council, was the second-most favored in the far-north area, but he trailed Devine often by a wide margin. Barnes only captured the majority in two precincts in the north. Mike Mohill, who came in last and ran on a campaign to nix city pension plans, didn’t get any precinct majorities.
Devine said she believes her decades of community involvement and her active campaigning in all parts of the city may have helped her gain the backing she got, especially in far-north Glendale where many voters have long felt ignored by City Hall.
“I do really want to make them feel included in this city and I think they felt that,” Devine said.
The geographic analysis was based on precinct and polling location data that includes votes made at the polls as well as vote-by-mail ballots, but not provisional, damaged and other votes yet to be counted. However, it’s unlikely that the remaining votes, to be tabulated by the end of the month, could knock Devine out of her strong lead of nearly 34%, political experts said.
Like Devine, Gharpetian said he campaigned in all corners of Glendale, but he took home less than half as many precincts as Devine, most of which were in areas that historically tend to vote for Armenian candidates.
“Unfortunately we have those blocks,” said Gharpetian, who was endorsed by the politically-influential Glendale chapter of the Armenian National Committee of America. “I don’t want to get votes because of my last name, or not get votes because of my last name.”
Although Glendale’s geographic demographics have changed over time — with more Armenians living throughout the city, in the north as well as the south, some election trends still continue.
“We really see similar patterns each time: Armenian neighborhoods going for the Armenian candidates, and the non-Armenian neighborhoods going for the non-Armenian candidates,” said Douglas Johnson, a fellow at the Rose Institute of State and Local Government at Claremont McKenna College.
For example, Armenian candidates historically have won precincts that pull voters from a northwest portion of the San Fernando Road corridor dotted by apartments, Johnson said. Both Keuroghelian and Gharpetian saw victories in those precincts.
They also won many precincts in south Glendale, with Devine taking home just a smattering in the south, mostly connected to the Adams Hill neighborhood.
Most southern neighborhoods, minus Adams Hill, tend to vote for Armenian candidates, said Paul Mitchell, vice president of Political Data, a consulting firm, said.
A retirement home in a southern precinct not connected to Adams Hill that mostly voted for Devine likely boosted her votes there, Mitchell said.
Now that the election is mostly over, some candidates are studying their strengths and weaknesses revealed in the precinct data as they prepare for the April 2015 general municipal election, which will have two seats open on the council dais.
The special election on June 3, prompted by a council appointment in 2013 after one member stepped down midterm, grants Devine 10 months on the council, but she’s already preparing to run again for a full four-year term.
Gharpetian and Mohill also plan to campaign again next year.
“I’ve done so much leg work and community work to just drop it here,” Gharpetian said.
Barnes said he has to bring down $20,000 in campaign debt before he can consider another run and Keuroghelian said he has yet to decide his next step.
“I think it’s too early to think about April,” Keuroghelian said.