Lee apparent winner in City Council special election

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LOS ANGELES (CNS) – Longtime council aide John Lee appeared to be the winner today in the special election to fill the northwestern San Fernando Valley’s 12th District seat on the Los Angeles City Council.

With all 57 precincts reporting, Lee held a 1,329-vote lead over Loraine Lundquist, an astrophysicist and longtime “social justice” activist, according to figures released by Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk.

Lee has 16,724 votes to 15,395 for Lundquist, a lead of 52.07%-47.93%. Election officials are expected to announce Wednesday the number of vote-by-mail and provisional ballots that remain to be counted.

“I feel great,” Lee told supporters Tuesday night at his Porter Ranch headquarters, the Daily News reported. “We’re celebrating tonight and tomorrow we’re going to work. We’ll start talking about how to bring this community together. We’re realizing that we have the same goals and we need to start working towards those goals.”

Lundquist congratulated Lee for running “a really good race,” but said she would “wait until all the ballots are counted” before conceding, according to the Daily News.

“We have a lot of provisional ballots, absentee ballots that do need to be counted,” Lundquist said.

Lee was seeking to become the second aide in the 12th Council District to ascend to council member. He was the chief of staff for then-City Councilman Mitch Englander, who was previously the chief of staff for then-Councilman Greig Smith.

Englander resigned last year to take a job in the private sector, and Smith has been filling the council seat on a temporary basis pending the special election.

Both candidates put forth ideas for addressing homelessness and pointed to their past work on the issue.

Lundquist has been the co-chair of the homelessness committee of Northridge East Neighborhood Council and a founding member of the West Valley Neighborhood Alliance on Homelessness. She said she backs creating more permanent supportive housing to help reduce the number of people on the streets.

According to his website, Lee has volunteered for a variety of charities in his district. One of his goals is to not just get the homeless population off the streets but to help them find employment. He also wants to establish more neighborhood security teams and create a “more effective” intervention system to help families on the brink of losing their home.

As of Monday, Lee’s campaign had out-spent Lundquist by about $196,000.

Although the race is nonpartisan, District 12 — which includes Chatsworth, Northridge, Porter Ranch, Granada Hills and West Hills — has traditionally leaned Republican. Lee is a Republican. Lundquist is a Democrat.

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