Returns for the April 12 election show Bob Frutos making gains in precincts where he had previously finished near the bottom, but it wasn’t enough to overcome Emily Gabel-Luddy’s edge citywide.
Gabel-Luddy eventually took the close election by just 95 votes after Frutos, armed with City Councilman Gary Bric’s endorsement, mounted a comeback in some key high-turnout precincts, according to voter return data from the city clerk’s office.
Five out of 10 precincts where Frutos garnered 57% of the vote or more were in the hillside area of Burbank — precincts he had previously earned third place behind incumbent Bric and Gabel-Luddy.
Frutos’ campaign manager, Alexis Castro, attributed the strong showing to Bric’s endorsement.
“Whether it was walking or sending out postcards, he reached out to every part of the city,” she said.
Although showing improvement in areas near the freeway and downtown Burbank, voters in the Media and Rancho Districts in West Burbank remained strongly aligned with Gabel-Luddy.
The new councilwoman won 22 out of 42 precincts, but despite a few large leads, nearly half of her wins were within a 10% margin of Frutos. In some cases, the margin was as few as three votes — in the western part of the hillside area, they tied with 148 votes each.
Although Frutos took five of the seven and another precinct in downtown, Gabel-Luddy won the remaining two high-turnout areas in Magnolia Park and Rancho District.
“I made it a point to walk in other areas that I hadn’t been to before the primary,” Gabel-Luddy said. “I made a real effort to get to the west part of Burbank and I found a whole new neighborhood of discovery.”
She attributed the small margin of victory to her concentration on new neighborhoods, negative campaigning by International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 18 on behalf of her opponent and Bric’s endorsement.
The highest turnout in the city was where Frutos garnered 70% of the vote in a precinct located near downtown, roughly bounded by Front Street and Glenoaks Boulevard between East Grinnell Drive and East Angeleno Avenue, where 25.5% of the 1,086 registered voters in the area turned in their ballots, according to the city clerk’s office.
The lowest turnouts — between 6% and 11% — were in the region immediately surrounding the airport and areas near the Golden State (5) Freeway.
The overall 15.7% voter turnout was below average for municipal elections in Burbank since 2003, but higher than the 14.3% of registered voters who cast ballots in the primary.