The races for three seats on the seven-member Board of City Directors, including two campaigns marked by months of bitter mudslinging, ended this week with the reelection of three incumbents to the largely conservative board.
In the closest race on Tuesday's ballot, Margaret Sedenquist, who amassed the largest campaign treasury in city history, lost her controversial battle to unseat incumbent Jess Hughston.
Sedenquist, who gathered about $56,000 for her election fund, fought a hard and often bitter campaign against Hughston in District 5, accusing him in various mailers of misusing city funds for his reelection campaign. She received 1,493 votes--47.2%--in Tuesday's municipal primary. Hughston received 1,668 votes, or 52.7%.
20% Voter Margin
In District 3, incumbent Loretta Thompson-Glickman handily defeated opponent Chris Holden, the 24-year-old son of former state Sen. Nate Holden (D-Culver City), by nearly a 20% voter margin despite a hard-hitting campaign of Holden mailers that attacked Thompson-Glickman's attendance record at City Hall and her personal finances. Holden received 517 votes, 40.7%, while Thompson-Glickman received 751 votes, or 59.2%.
In District 7, incumbent William Thomson easily won a second term in his race against J. Albert Curran. Thomson received 1,092 votes, 62.3%, to Curran's 659 votes, 37.7%, in the quietest and only non-controversial race of the election.
Although the election is over, aspects of the two bitter campaigns have yet to be resolved. Hughston has filed a $2-million libel suit against Sedenquist over her campaign mailers, which Hughston said contained "absolute lies" about him.
Investigation Under Way
The district attorney's office, meanwhile, is investigating Holden's charges that a city-sponsored newsletter, which contained a glowing tribute to Thompson-Glickman, constituted a violation of the state elections code. The results of that investigation are expected within the next few weeks.
"It's going to be a long time before I get over the mudslinging," Hughston said late Tuesday night at his victory party. "I felt she (Sedenquist) degraded the political process."
Sedenquist, who pumped $23,000 of her own money into her campaign fund, said after the election that her expensive campaign was well worth the cost, despite her defeat.
"It was very, very close," Sedenquist said, "but it's incredibly hard to fight City Hall. It's always worth it to bring to the attention of the public the goings-on and the cover-ups of City Hall."
When asked if she would run again, Sedenquist replied, "Who knows at this point?"
Holden, however, promised to return to the political arena. "I'll be back tomorrow," he said after his defeat. "But right now it's pretty tough. I'm pleased with the campaign from the standpoint that I worked hard and covered all the bases. I guess it just wasn't meant to be."
An elated Thompson-Glickman said: "I never thought I was going to lose. I thought it was going to be close."
Thompson-Glickman called Holden's campaign against her "vicious," saying his election brochures contained personal attacks about her financial problems and exploited the number of her absences from committee meetings.
"I'm glad that the campaign is over," she said, "because now we can get back to the real business--revitalizing the northwest and the board's agenda."
Thompson-Glickman has said that her last-minute decision to seek a third term was made because she wanted to preserve a four-member board majority that recently voted for a number of redevelopment projects in the crime-plagued northwest part of the city, which includes her district.
Curran, a retired businessman who ran against Thomson in the affluent District 7, said he thought the campaign was "an interesting experience. I feel it satisfied a strong sense of duty on my part to help the city and my fellow citizens."