ELECTION AFTERMATH: Los Angeles County

Results and analysis for key ballot measures and elections

Photo by Olenka Kotyk on Unsplash

The national media outlets have finally pronounced Joseph R. Biden the president-elect. Kamala Harris will become both the first female and first black person to serve as Vice President. The headlines are inspiring… and the punditry is getting a little tiring. We all need a nap. To no one’s surprise, LA County voted overwhelming for Joe Biden: 71.2% compared to Trump’s 26.9% of the vote.

The top-level results, though, are just the beginning. A record number of Americans voted in local races that will have an immediate impact on their communities. For citizens in Los Angeles, those elections will likely set the tone for local races nationwide in the years to come.

All results below are updated as of 4:30 PM on November 6th and outcomes are expected to be final. Check LAVote.net for up-to-the-minute results for every election across the county.

County Measure J: YES

This measure will require the county to designate 10% of its unrestricted revenue to “community investment initiatives.” In August, this measure was added to the ballot by the Board of Supervisors in response to growing calls for law enforcement funds to be redistributed. It passed with 52.3% support.

In practice, this means that somewhere between $360M and $500M of LA’s discretionary spending will be put towards programs like substance abuse treatment, affordable housing, mental health support, job training, etc.

This is a deeply positive, if perhaps vague, step in the right direction for Los Angeles. The future of criminal justice cannot be larger prisons and harsher sentences. It must be about rehabilitation and prevention. Justice walks hand-in-hand with economic opportunity and properly funded education. This measure, while partially symbolic, is also a tangible step towards more thoughtful consideration of how our tax dollars should be spent.

LA County District Attorney: George Gascón

This race garnered national attention for good reason. Gascón faced off against incumbent Jackie Lacey, who has served since 2012. The Black Lives Matter movement shined a harsh spotlight on Lacey’s record of failing to prosecute police and her support of the death penalty. In a moment where public safety is being reimagined, George Gascón was the candidate whose vision fit the moment. He won with 53.6% of the vote compared to Lacey’s 43.4%.

Gascón is a former San Fran DA with modern ideas of justice that include ending cash bail, rolling back the war on drugs, and holding police accountable for their misconduct. He had support from Democratic leaders like Kamala Harris as well as BLM co-founder Patrisse Cullors.

This is a hugely consequential result. Los Angeles has an enormous police force that is a reliable source of violent interactions with citizens, especially the unhoused and mentally afflicted. Gascón’s office will be setting the tone when it comes to handling urban safety in the 21st century.

City Council District 4: Nithya Raman

Raman is an incredible candidate who received my strong endorsement. Her robust platform focuses on solving homelessness, transforming public safety, and supporting small businesses. As more politicians ought to do, she released comprehensive plans via her website on a range of issues.

She won with 52.5% of the vote to defeat incumbent David Ryu who received 47.5%. As of yesterday, he has conceded. Nithya will now represent District 4, which covers Sherman Oaks, Toluca Lake, and areas of Silver Lake, Bel-Air, and Hollywood.

This was another race that drew national attention. Sen. Bernie Sanders threw his support behind Raman… prompting Hillary Clinton to do the same for David Ryu. This race was a microcosm of the larger conversation in the Democratic Party between moderates and progressives. Raman’s bolder vision pushed Ryu to adopt many of her ideas, but it was ultimately her own tremendous grassroots support and consistent spending that gave her the win. We should be excited for her to take office.

City Council District 10: Mark Ridley-Thomas

Ridley-Thomas easily defeated Grace Yoo with 62.27% of the vote compared to her 38.73%. This was an open seat due to the departure of Council President Herb Wesson — you’ll hear his name again — but Ridley-Thomas was the heavy favorite. He is a longtime Democratic politician who served in the CA State Senate, LA City Council, and has just left a seat on the LA County Board of Supervisors.

After serving this four year term, Ridley-Thomas will no longer be eligible to serve on the Council and District 10 will once again have an open race.

Board of Supervisors (2nd District): Holly J. Mitchell

This is a big one. The Board of Supervisors is a body comprised of only 5 people that oversee the county’s $37B budget. This race was for the seat that was just vacated by the aforementioned Ridley-Thomas.

Ex-City Council President Herb Wesson was a likely winner in this race. He’s been a reliable leader in Los Angeles politics who worked admirably during the tumult of 2020. As in the District 4 race, the traditional candidate was forced to contend with a progressive challenger: Holly Mitchell. She has served in both the California Assembly and Senate. Her focus is on homelessness, jobs, the environment, and moving the justice system towards rehabilitation. She received endorsement from Sen. Bernie Sanders and Gov. Gavin Newson. Wesson was endorsed by Mayor Eric Garcetti, the LA Democratic Party, and a number of unions.

The race wasn’t particularly close: Mitchell won with 60.78% of the vote versus Herb Wesson’s 39.22%. The result appears to be another testament to the power of modern ideas about city governance and, more importantly, the diverse coalition of citizens who cast their votes for Mitchell. Their lives will be most directly impacted by changes in leadership and, naturally, it’s their voices that must be heard.

Noteworthy: The Board of Supervisors is now comprised of five women!

Superior Court Judges

These judges will handle cases in the county’s sprawling justice system. All are Democrats. There were no particular standouts, with the possible exception of Myanna Dellinger who had the backing of progressive movements but lacked the experience of her competitor. Her loss was the narrowest of the three elections. See full results below.

Office № 72: Steve Morgan

Office № 80: David A. Berger

Office № 162: Scott Andrew Yang

Courtesy of LAVote.net

There are only a few key races! Explore the full results to discover how the election impacted your neighborhood. Check back here in the next few days to learn how statewide races and propositions in California shook out.

You can follow me on Twitter here.

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