With less than a week remaining until results are certified, Jeanne Broberg’s lead over Andrew Blumenfeld has shrunk to two votes in the La Cañada Unified school board race, according to the latest tally posted Wednesday by the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder.
Broberg now has 1,804 votes, or 27.08%, to Blumenfeld’s 1,802 votes, or 27.05%. The three-term incumbent and the Princeton University student are locked in a near tie for the second of two seats up for grabs from the Nov. 8 election. The first seat will go to Ellen Multari, who leads the pack with 2,085 votes, or 31.3%.
A fourth candidate, Ernest Koeppen, currently has 970 votes, or 14.56%.
The registrar-recorder will post a new update Friday afternoon before releasing the final vote count Monday. Election results then go to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors for certification.
Broberg has said that she is eager to return for a fourth term and get to work on likely mid-year cuts to the La Cañada Unified budget.
“I, as everyone, am anxiously awaiting final results,” she said in an email this week.
Blumenfeld, who returned to school the day after the election, said that he and representatives from his campaign are closely monitoring the ongoing count.
“I think I am pretty calm about it, mostly because I could not be more thrilled with the success of the campaign and about our ability to generate conversation and excitement about these important issues,” he said.
Any voter has five days following the certification of the election results to request a recount, which would then take place Nov. 29 through Dec. 3. The winners of the election are tentatively scheduled to be sworn into office at the La Cañada Unified school board meeting on Dec. 6.
Blumenfeld said his campaign probably would be able to pay for a recount — which comes with a minimum price tag of $3,936 per day — if the official count doesn’t go his way.
“I am still willing to explore that possibility,” he said. “The cost is certainly a factor, but I don’t think it will be the determining one.”
When unofficial results were first posted on Nov. 9, Blumenfeld trailed Broberg by 12 votes. That spread increased to 14 votes in an updated tally released two days later, only to shrink back down to a dozen votes Monday.
“We don’t know how many ballots are left, which is really frustrating,” said outgoing school board member and Blumenfeld campaign manager Cindy Wilcox. “Just waiting is hard.”
The now-two-vote difference in the school board contest has conjured up memories of another close La Cañada Flintridge election. In the 1998 city council race, Anthony Portantino finished ahead of fellow candidate Deborah Orlik by three votes, according to the unofficial vote tally on election night.
But the lead didn’t stick — a provisional ballot count put him behind by two votes, and a subsequent recount confirmed the close loss.
Now representing La Cañada and parts of Pasadena in the state Assembly, Portantino said that the memories of that tight race have stayed with him.
“The biggest overriding lesson in this entire situation, both 12 years ago and today, is every vote counts,” he said, adding there will be no losers in this race.
“I think they both should be proud of themselves,” Portantino said. “It was a very vigorous campaign and they each garnered significant support. “They were both running for a good cause.”