Press-Telegram (Long Beach)

Long Beach: Tight races for City Council and school board see little change with latest release of vote tallies


The tight races for Long Beach City Council and school board saw little movement on Tuesday, despite the L.A. County registrar's second-post election update adding thousands of ballots.

Most of the changes from the added votes were minor swings in the gaps between candidates.

Councilwom­an Mary Zendejas, for example, saw her lead in the 1st District City Council race go from 50.73% after Friday to 50.57% on Tuesday.

Zendejas, in her bid for a first full term, will certainly come out on top. She leads second-place Mariela Salgado, who had 28.8% support, by 953 votes as of Tuesday — 2,214 to 1,261.

But the councilwom­an needs to stay above 50% to win outright. Otherwise,

Zendejas would face Salgado in a runoff on Nov. 8.

The 1st District includes much of the downtown area, including the Pike Outlets, the Queen Mary Harbor, City Hall and the Long Beach Entertainm­ent & Convention Center.

The outcomes of Long Beach's mayoral and 7th District City Council races, meanwhile, were largely known after election night.

Council Members Suzie Price and Rex Richardson will head to a runoff on Nov. 8 for the right to succeed Mayor Robert Garcia. Seventh District Councilman Roberto Uranga blew away his competitio­n to with a third term.

Other Long Beach races, however, remain in flux, particular­ly in the tight 3rd District.

In the 5th and 9th districts, the biggest question is whether the leading candidates can get over 50% and avoid a runoff, though the latter race's second runoff spot also has not been decided.

And the final spot in the runoff to represent the 1st District on the Long Beach Unified School District's Board of Education remains tight.

Countywide, the registrar tallied another 96,828 ballots Tuesday, after counting an additional 169,338 for its initial post-election update on Friday.

Another 365,820 ballots need to be processed, the registrar said Tuesday.

The next update will come on Friday.

Besides the City Council's 1st District, here is a look at where Long Beach's close races stand after Tuesday's update:

3rd District

The race to succeed Price as Long Beach's 3rd District representa­tive remains close, though the top-two candidates slightly increased their lead over the rest of the field.

Still, things are far from certain, even though about 2,000 more votes came in for this district.

Former Price staffer Kristina Duggan remained in first on Tuesday, with 22.58% support, slightly down from Friday's 23.02%. Second place Nima J. Novin saw her support tick up slightly, from 19.54% to 19.88%, while Kailee Caruso jumped ahead of Greg Magnuson into third place. She went from 16.56% support to 17.96%; Magnuson dropped from 18.5% to 17.5%.

Still, the overall votes counts are tight, with Duggan having 2,353, Novin having 2,072, Caruso having 1,872 and Magnuson having 1,824 — a gap of 529 votes.

Mark Guillen's 1,345 votes had him in fifth, with the public affairs director having 12.91% overall.

And last-place candidate Deborah Castro, CEO of an advertisin­g agency, had 956 votes, for 9.17% support overall.

The 3rd District includes Belmont Shore, Bixby Village, Naples, Alamitos Heights and Recreation Park. Price is completing her second term; she stepped aside to run for mayor, where she is in a runoff against Richardson.

5th District

School board member Megan Kerr and longtime transparen­cy advocate Ian Patton will likely head to a runoff in November for the 5th District seat, though Kerr is still hoping to win outright.

Kerr made slight progress on that front Tuesday — though perhaps not enough — going from 47.85% to 48.29%. She had 5,280 votes.

Patton's hold on second remained essentiall­y the same, with about 32%, with 3,460 votes total. Jeannine Bedard and Linda Valdez remain well back

The 5th District now includes Bixby Knolls, California Heights and Virginia Country Club. Redistrict­ing stretched the 5th District's boundaries to include both sides of the Long Beach Airport.

Both east and west sections of the district are primarily single-family-home neighborho­ods.

9th District

Joni Ricks-Oddie remains secure in first place and, like Kerr, inched closer to the majority threshold to win outright.

Her 48.06% support as of Tuesday was two tantalizin­g percentage points away. Her 1,487 votes were nearly double that of second place Ginny Gonzales.

Gonzales, meanwhile, remained in second, though her proportion­al advantage over third-place Raul Nario — 24.18% to 12.96% — was a bit deceptive, since only 347 votes separate them.

(Gus Orozco is technicall­y in third, but he dropped out of the race after being recalled to active duty military service earlier this year.)

The top two will face each other in a November runoff in the race to take over Richardson's 9th District seat.

The 9th District is the northernmo­st in the city. It includes the neighborho­ods of College Square, Starr King, Hamilton, McKinley and Powell.

LBUSD 1st District

Teacher Maria Isabel Lopez continues outpacing the rest of the field, with 42.38% support as of Tuesday, though that was down slightly from Friday's 43.33%.

But the battle for second is still narrow, despite Nubia Flores increasing her advantage a bit compared to Friday.

Flores, who has been involved in LBUSD commission­s and committees, had about 30.49% while Sharifa Batts had 27.14%. On Friday, those percentage­s were 29.64% and 27.03% respective­ly.

Flores also increased her overall advantage in votes by 124, to 305. Flores had 2,775 and Batts had 2,470 as of Tuesday.

The 1st District includes Grant Elementary, Hamilton Middle and Jordan High schools.

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