Imelda Padilla claims victory in Valley council race

Imelda Padilla speaks to supporters at her election party Tuesday night in Sun Valley.
Imelda Padilla speaks to supporters at her election party Tuesday night in Sun Valley.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
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Imelda Padilla declared victory Friday in the race for the vacant Los Angeles City Council seat representing the central and northeast San Fernando Valley, saying she is “ready to serve as the next councilwoman for the communities of CD 6.”

Padilla, a community advocate, is the winner of Tuesday’s special election to represent Council District 6, which has been without a leader since former council President Nury Martinez resigned last year.

Rival Marisa Alcaraz, in a statement Friday, thanked supporters and acknowledged that her campaign “fell short of the win.”

Results released Friday by the Los Angeles County Registrar/Recorder show Padilla leading with nearly 56% of the vote, compared with Alcaraz’s 44%. The county said there were 446 outstanding vote-by-mail ballots left to be processed. Vote-by-mail ballots that are postmarked by election day and received by July 5 will also be counted.


Though the results won’t be finalized for weeks, council President Paul Krekorian introduced a motion Friday to appoint Padilla to the seat.

Krekorian’s motion notes that the L.A. County Registrar/Recorder won’t certify the results of the election until after the council’s three-week break. The council will return on Aug. 1.

‘El Hijo del Pueblo’ is a paean to those who decide to stick with the working class. Padilla, 35, cast herself as a woman of the people in her City Council run.

June 28, 2023

“Ms. Padilla’s not being sworn in as the Councilmember of District 6 until at least August 1 may hinder her ability to fully prepare her office during the summer recess and could affect her ability to aid her constituents during that period,” Krekorian’s motion says.

The council is expected to vote on Krekorian’s motion next week before taking its break. Krekorian on Friday also named Padilla the caretaker of the district.

Section 409(b) of the City Charter states that the council “may appoint a person to hold the office temporarily until the vacancy election is conducted and the election results are certified and declared.”

Padilla, who has worked for nonprofits and community groups, was backed by both progressive and moderate politicians and an array of powerful labor unions, including the United Firefighters of Los Angeles City, which represents L.A. city firefighters, in Tuesday’s election.


At debate and in interviews, Padilla displayed a deep knowledge of neighborhood issues in District 6. She also offered voters a compelling personal story that touched on her battle with rickets and seeing her brother incarcerated.

Her opponent, Alcaraz, also had union backing, as well as institutional support from individuals including Krekorian. And she offered her own personal tale of being a single mother who worked on high-profile City Hall legislation to help street vendors, grocery store employees and other workers.

But Alcaraz’s career was spent working largely in another part of the city, in City Councilman Curren Price’s South L.A. district.

In a blow to her campaign, her boss Price was charged with 10 felony counts two weeks before Tuesday’s election. The councilman said he is innocent of the charges, which are related to votes on developments, his wife’s business and health benefits that she received from the city.