Remaining Absentee/Provisional Ballots Counted:
3rd Council dist: Loftin Will Face DeLong in June Runoff; Ryan Endorses Loftin
9th Council dist: Lerch Widens Apparently Winning Lead Over Neal
1st dist LB School Board: Incumbent Stanton Edges Out Challenger Deaton By 135 Votes; Teachers Union Indicates It Will Demand Recount
(April 21, 2006) -- Shortly before 5:30 p.m. on April 21, the LB City Clerk's office completed counting 5,000+ remaining ballots (absentees plus provisionals) from the April 11 election.
The final tally showed razor thin victory margins reelecting 9th district Councilman Val Lerch and 1st district LBUSD School Board member Mary Stanton (subject to a likely challenger-requested recount in the School Board race; a 9th district recount status is uncertain as we post).
And in the 3d Council district, LB lawyer Stephanie Loftin edged out Norm Ryan by 34 votes (out of over 10,000 total 3d district votes cast) for a chance to face first place finisher Gary DeLong in a June runoff.
Ballots were counted by machines assembled in the City Council chamber...and the process was open to the public.
3d district City Council
Ms. Loftin was upbeat but tense as the ballots were counted. On election night April 11, she was third, trailing Norm Ryan by 35 votes. But when the final ballots were counted today, Ms. Loftin ended up second, ahead of Mr. Ryan by 34 votes. Over 10,000 total votes were cast in the 3d district contest between candidates DeLong, Loftin, Ryan, Legeman and (withdrawn) Rudd.
When City Clerk staffers distributed the final numbers, cheers went up from Ms. Loftin's supporters. "I'm ready to faint," Ms. Loftin said in laughter (photo moments after hearing the news).
But she didn't faint. She gave rapid-fire responses in fielding reporters' questions.
Although the extremely close finish automatically entitles him to a legally-mandated recount, Mr. Ryan indicated he is endorsing Ms. Loftin. Mr. Ryan brought his two sons with him to the Council Chamber...and on hearing the results, Mr. Ryan promptly went up to Ms. Loftin, congratulated her...and indicated he supports her in the runoff against Mr. DeLong.
Mr. Ryan told LBReport.com that while his narrow 3d place finish is a disappointment, he strongly supported the victorious Auditor-elect Laura Wilson-Doud...and he's confident "she will bring the kinds of changes we need to see inside City Hall."
We asked Ms Loftin how she would beat Mr. DeLong [who finished with roughly 43% of the vote.] Noting that she now has the endorsement of candidates Norm Ryan and Charlie Legeman [and her vote total plus theirs exceeds DeLong], Ms. Loftin replied:
"I'm going to go to the people and I'm going to let them hear the differences, and there is a difference in the way we think about what the district should look like...The people that I've talked to do not want an LNG plant. They do not want the Home Depot on Studebaker and Loynes; there are other things that are more neighborhood friendly."
9th district City Council
9th district Councilman Val Lerch entered the Council Chamber saying he was prepared for whatever the voters' decision was. By late afternoon, Councilman Lerch saw his 110 vote lead over challenger Steven Neal widen to 132 votes, apparently winning him a second term on the LB City Council. Lerch's victory margin is sufficiently large that a recount is not legally required...and it's unclear if challenger Neal will seek one (and pay for it if the results don't change).
LB Unified School District Boardmember Dist. 1
1st district LB School Boardmember Mary Stanton watched the ballot tally with LBUSD Superintendent Chris Steinhauser.
Although her 183 vote lead dipped to 135 votes, Ms. Stanton held onto a victory margin of roughly 2% over challenger Jim Deaton, one of a trio of challengers to incumbent School Boardmembers backed by the Teachers Association of Long Beach (TALB).
"I'm happy because I did a very good, positive campaign and the people responded to me," Schoolboard member Stanton said.
But TALB General Counsel Gerrie Schipske [who separately finished first in the 5th district Council race, ensuring her June runoff against write-in incumbent Vice Mayor Jackie Kell] indicated the teachers' union will be seeking a recount...and Ms. Schipske added that they had received reports allegedly indicating election day irregularities.
City Clerk Larry Herrera said a recount involves assembling a board that will go through the precincts and hand count the ballots, one by one, in each precinct and make a determination that the votes are properly counted. The 3d district votes will get a mandatory recount. If other candidates want recounts, they'll have to pay the cost if the outcome doesn't change (and the city will pay if the outcome does change).
Watching from the entryway atop the Council chamber: LB Mayoral candidate Bob Foster (48.5% of the vote) alongside supporter/endorser LB Firefighters Union President Capt. Rich Brandt and campaign manager Becki Ames. "We're looking forward to June, ready to go," Ms. Ames said.
Councilman Frank Colonna, who garnered 28.5% of the vote in a multi-candidate field, now goes head to head with Mr. Foster. Colonna campaign spokesman Robert Garcia told LBReport.com, "We plan to wage a vigorous campaign."
Retired Councilman Doug Drummond, who finished third with 19.1% of the vote, has endorsed Mr. Foster.
Among other VIPs spotted: re-elected City Attorney Bob Shannon; re-elected Councilmembers Bonnie Lowenthal and Tonia Reyes Uranga; retired Councilman Evan Braude; Mayor Beverly O'Neill's Chief of Staff Kathy Wieder and Senior Advisor Diane Jacobus; City Auditor Gary Burroughs (appeared briefly); 8th district Council office staffers Jonathan Kraus and Linda Ivers; 2d district Council candidate Sonny Bozeman; and veteran LB political consultant Tracy Kittinger.
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