Kuehl appears to beat Shriver for Board of Supervisors seat

Propelled by strong backing from labor, former state lawmaker Sheila Kuehl appeared Wednesday to have won a pivotal race for an open seat on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, defeating former Santa Monica City Council member Bobby Shriver.

With 100% of the precincts counted, election officials said, Kuehl had 52.8% of the vote, compared with Shriver’s 47.2%

Kuehl, Shriver and their backers raised and spent millions of dollars in a hard-fought contest to replace longtime board member Zev Yaroslavsky in a sprawling west county district that includes high-income and blue-collar suburbs stretching from Santa Monica to the north San Fernando Valley.

The election was seen as the one of the most pivotal Board of Supervisors races in decades, in part because it likely will determine if the balance of power on the five-member panel tilts toward organized labor or business and development.


Though members are officially nonpartisan, two Republicans, Don Knabe and Michael D. Antonovich, have frequently allied with Yaroslavsky or Gloria Molina on key budget and labor-negotiation issues.

Molina is being replaced by former Obama administration Labor secretary Hilda Solis, who won election in June with strong union backing. Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who is not up for election, joined the board in 2008 with the help of millions of dollars in union spending.

The race saw union-affiliated campaign money flow toward Kuehl, while Shriver’s bid attracted lopsided support from investment, development and real estate interests.

The post-voting parties for both candidates ended late Tuesday with neither declaring victory or conceding defeat.