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Koretz appears close to winning L.A. council seat

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While hundreds of ballots remain uncounted in the race to replace Los Angeles City Councilman Jack Weiss, Paul Koretz appears close to locking up victory.

As of Tuesday, Koretz led challenger David “Ty” Vahedi by 702 votes, winning 18,286 in last week’s election compared to Vahedi’s 17,584 in the 5th Council District race.

Koretz, a former state assemblyman, sent an e-mail to supporters shortly before 10 p.m. Tuesday, saying that 100 votes were left to count and that he could safely call himself the winner.

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However, Los Angeles County election officials said his declaration of victory was premature. The Registrar’s Office estimates that 500 to 1,000 ballots remain uncounted. Those include 100 damaged ballots, with the remainder being uncounted mail-in or provisional ballots.

The vote tally is not expected to be completed until June 15, and no candidate in the race has been declared a winner, said Eileen Shea, a spokeswoman for the registrar’s office.

On election night, the two candidates were separated by 335 votes.

The latest tally puts Koretz at 50.98% of the vote, compared to 49.02% for Vahedi, a neighborhood council member.

Vahedi and Koretz were running in a district that stretches from Cheviot Hills to Encino.

The winner takes office July 1.

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phil.willon@latimes.com

david.zahniser@latimes.com

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