Kevin de León declares victory in race for Eastside L.A. City Council seat

Former state Sen. Kevin de Leon
Kevin de León.
(Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

Former state Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León on Monday claimed victory in the March 3 election to replace outgoing Los Angeles City Councilman Jose Huizar.

De León was one of five candidates who sought the seat, which covers downtown Los Angeles, including skid row, Boyle Heights, El Sereno and Eagle Rock.

The Los Angeles County Registrar/Recorder’s latest round of results on Friday showed that De León had 24,823 votes, or about 53% of the vote. Candidate Cyndi Otteson was in second place, with 9,221 votes.

Jonathan Underland, a spokesman for De León, said that as of Monday, about 400 votes were left to count in the council district race, making it statistically impossible for another candidate to win.

Elections officials are expected to certify the results on March 27.


If de León’s win is confirmed, he will avoid a run-off and take office in December.

De León had numerous advantages in the race. He is well-known in some Eastside neighborhoods that he represented in the state Legislature. He also raised more than $800,000, significantly more than his competitors, and benefited from $540,000 in outside spending by labor and other groups.

Underland said de León has been staying in Highland Park amid the shutdown over the coronavirus pandemic.

“He’s checking in with friends, family and constituents by phone to see what their needs are, and following up however he can, while maintaining safe social distancing guidelines,” Underland said.

De León said in a statement: “Though the future may feel uncertain, as a veteran public servant I know that we can overcome anything when our communities unite as they have to achieve our common goals.”