L.A. City Councilmember Nithya Raman pulls past 50%, on verge of outright primary win

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In her bid for a second term, Los Angeles City Councilmember Nithya Raman pulled above 50% for the first time since vote counting began in last week’s primary election, increasing her prospects of avoiding a Nov. 5 runoff.

The latest batch of returns, released Tuesday, showed Raman with 50.2% of the vote, compared with 39% for her nearest opponent, Deputy City Atty. Ethan Weaver. In third place was software engineer Levon “Lev” Baronian, who had about 11%.

In a statement, Raman said she’s still waiting for all the votes to be counted. Nevertheless, she called the latest batch of results “very exciting.”

“It’s been the honor of my life to serve this incredible city as a member of its council, and I very much hope to see what more we can accomplish with four more years of work,” she said.

Vote counting is expected to resume Wednesday. Raman and her two challengers were competing to represent a district that straddles the Hollywood Hills, stretching from Silver Lake in the east to the San Fernando Valley neighborhood of Reseda in the west.

Raman was running for a second four-year term in a district that is significantly different from the one that elected her in 2020. A year after she took office, the City Council redrew about 40% of the district, taking out such areas as Hancock Park and Park La Brea and adding all or part of Encino, Studio City and other neighborhoods.

Under the city’s election rules, any council candidate who receives more than 50% in the primary election wins outright.

Weaver, in a statement, said his campaign “always knew it was going to be a close race.”

“I do want to say thank you to all the thousands of people who rallied to our campaign,” he said, “and I’m asking for them to be patient while the remaining votes are counted.”

Weaver, who spent several years as a neighborhood prosecutor, had sought to make major issues of public safety and homelessness. He received huge financial support from unions that represent police officers and firefighters, as well as landlords, business groups and other donors, which spent a combined $1.35 million on his behalf.

Raman worked to turn that huge outside spending into a negative for Weaver, saying it showed that special interests were unhappy with her votes in support of new tenant protections and against police raises and digital billboards. Her supporters portrayed the race as one that would determine the future of progressive politics at City Hall.

Raman’s progress on her reelection bid took place on the same day that Ysabel Jurado, another candidate backed by the city’s political left, pulled into first place in her race against Councilmember Kevin de León.

Like Raman, Jurado had been increasing her share of the vote in each of the county’s daily updates. Jurado now appears to be headed to a Nov. 5 runoff election in that Eastside district.

Election officials said they have an estimated 126,000 ballots left to count countywide.

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