Four-time Los Angeles Community College District trustee candidate Nancy Pearlman won a spot on the board in a surprise landslide victory over Samuel J. "Joey" Hill.
Pearlman, 53, of Los Angeles, won 63% of the vote Tuesday after trailing Hill by 4% in a crowded primary of four candidates.
It was as though every voter who chose one of the two losing candidates in April switched their vote to Pearlman.
"The public kept telling me they wanted me there," said Pearlman, who unsuccessfully ran for the office in 1995, 1997 and 1999. "I've learned from all my previous experiences, and my supporters helped me get to the voters we hadn't reached before."
Pearlman, a Green Party candidate who raised $1,000 for the campaign, stressed that she would be the independent voice on a seven-member board that she considers too swayed by staff and faculty unions.
"I know I'm going to have to work with people . . . I've criticized," Pearlman said. "But I am not critical of them as individuals, only of some of the decisions they've made."
Hill, an aide to state Sen. Kevin Murray (D-Culver City), was incredulous at the election's outcome.
"No one I know can think of any rational reason she would have gotten two out of three votes in June when she got only one in three in April," Hill said. "I was more than a little surprised. I was shocked."
Hill outspent Pearlman 100 to 1 in the race.
Meanwhile, in another runoff--this one for a seat on the Los Angeles Board of Education--challenger Marlene Canter beat incumbent Valerie Fields, garnering 54% of the vote.
Canter, 53, will join the school board next month, representing a region that stretches from the Westside to the west San Fernando Valley.
She said she will focus on recruiting and training teachers and on ensuring that students have adequate textbooks. "I'm so totally exhilarated and honored to have been chosen to do this," Canter said Wednesday. "It's really a vote of confidence. It was a big win for the kids of L.A."