Final Ballots Counted & Dee Andrews Widens His Lead, Is Presumtive 6th District Councilman-Elect; Al Austin Doesn't Concede, Says He Looks Forward To Rep'ing 6th District
(May 11, 2007, updated from 12:30 p.m. front page posting) -- At midmorning May 11, as dueling groups of candidates, supporters and lawyers observed in the City Council Chamber, the LB City Clerk's office publicly tallied the last ballots (final absentees + provisionals) in LB's pivotal 6th district City Council race.
When the process began at 9:30 a.m., Dee Andrews led Al Austin by 49 votes. By 11:10 a.m., Mr. Andrews led Mr. Austin by 74 votes...and was presumptive Councilman-elect Andrews.
The 6th district tally (unofficial until certified) is:
|Dee Andrews||683 (27.27%)|
|Al Austin||609 (24.31%)|
|Ahmed Saafir||446 (17.8%)|
|Edward Acevedo||415 (16.57%)|
|Lillian Parker||274 (10.94%)|
|Lee Davis||56 (2.24%)|
|J.A. Caruthers||22 (0.88%)|
Mr. Andrews wasn't present for the emotion packed moment, perhaps recalling his painful loss in 2000 to Laura Richardson by seven votes...
...but his supporters were ecstatic, breaking into cheers on learning the result.
Mr. Andrews' campaign manager, Kelton Reese (right in photo) told LBReport.com, "I'm overwhelmed...It's really a people's victory. It's driven by folks that live in the community who want to see some positive things happen."
Campaign consultant Tracy Kittinger (left in photo above) said, "The people won!...This is just fantastic. I wanted this to be my last campaign but in another six or seven months, we're going to be back in it" [since presumed incumbent Andrews will have to stand for reelection in spring 08].
7th district Councilwoman Tonia Reyes Uranga observed the final tally and emailed reaction to LBReport.com: "The Dee Andrews victory was a win for the democratic process and a tribute to plain hard work. The inspiration in this race was the true multicultural effort that went into his win. For all the talk of being the most diverse city in the nation, we have a candidate that utilized Cambodian, Latino, and African American voter participation," Councilwoman Reyes Uranga said.
Others observing in the Council Chamber included the senior staff from Councilmembers in Districts 1, 3, 4, 7 and 8), along with Councilman Gary DeLong and Mayoral Chief of Staff Becki Ames who stopped by briefly. City Attorney Bob Shannon and Ass't City Attorney Heather Mahood were also present, keeping a close watch on the proceedings.
Mr. Austin (right in photo) attended the vote tally with three lawyers (not shown in photo) and didn't concede the race. "I wish the results would have been a little bit more favorable today. We're going to get together as a team, explore our options, look into all of the issues, think about doing a campaign and we'll be talking more later. We look forward to representing the residents of the 6th district at the end of the day when all is said and done," Mr. Austin told LBReport.com
Mr. Andrews has separately retained election-counsel...and a lawyer from the firm representing him also attended the vote tally.
The City Clerk's tally today showed Mr. Andrews received 35.86% of the absentee ballots compared to 18.75% for Mr. Austin and 18.83% for Mr. Saafir.
Mr. Andrews 683 votes were comprised of 455 absentees plus 228 ballots at polling places. Mr. Austin's 609 votes were comprised of 371 ballots cast at polling places plus 238 absentees.
Mr. Austin's candidacy was backed by (among others) organized labor, various LB-area Dems, LB Mayor Bob Foster and the former Council incumbent he hoped to succeed, Assemblywoman Laura Richardson (D., Carson-LB). Third-place finisher Ahmed Saafir was backed by the LB Area Chamber of Commerce, former LB Mayor Beverly O'Neill, the Press-Telegram and former 6th district Councilwoman (now Harbor Commissioner) Doris Topsy-Elvord.
Mr. Andrews ran a grassroots campaign, discounted by many outside the 6th district, in which he repeatedly criticized the influence of special interests at LB City Hall.
The election results must be certified by the City Council before Mr. Andrews can take office.
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