L.A. city elections: Incumbent council members take early lead

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In the slew of races for Los Angeles City Council, incumbents Paul Koretz on the Westside and Joe Buscaino in the Harbor district jumped out to major leads, according to an early tally of mail-in ballots.

The early returns shed little light on the other council races, however. There are more than 1.8 million registered voters in the city, and just 111,000 mail in ballots were tallied early Tuesday evening.

Still, turnout is expected to be low, so voters who opted to mail in their ballots may have a major impact of the outcome. Before the polls opened Tuesday, the City Clerk’s office had received 148,846 mail-in ballots from voters in the city, or 8.2% of the total number of registered voters.

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Eight of the City Council’s 15 seats are up for grabs, setting the stage for the most dramatic change on the city’s legislative body in a dozen years. With incumbents stepping down in six of those eight races, dozens of candidates stepped forward to seek seats on the council.

The early vote was fractured in the free-for-all council race to represent the Hollywood-Silver Lake district, a contest that probably won’t be decided until far into the vote count. A dozen political hopefuls are running for that seat, which was represented by City Councilman Eric Garcetti, who is running for mayor.

In the northwest San Fernando Valley, Assemblyman Bob Blumenfield (D-Woodland Hills), jumped to a big lead in the early returns.

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In a district stretching from Westchester to Pacific Palisades, Mike Bonin surged ahead in the early tally. Bonin served as chief of staff to the district’s current councilman, Bill Rosendahl, who is giving up the Westside council seat to focus on his fight against cancer.


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--Phil Willon