In close LA city races, latest update on ballot count doesn't show clear winners

Poll workers at a voting location in North Hollywood during the Los Angeles city election on May 16, 2017.
Poll workers at a voting location in North Hollywood during the Los Angeles city election on May 16, 2017.
Mary Plummer/KPCC

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The Los Angeles City Clerk's office announced an update Friday on a portion of the remaining ballots cast in the city's general election but the new numbers don't make clear who won the close races.

In the City Council's District 7 race, 833 votes separated frontrunner Monica Rodriguez from opponent Karo Torossian as of early Wednesday, when the last preliminary count was released. At least 1,800 ballots remain to be counted in that contest. That number doesn't include mail ballots that arrived Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of this week, according to Sandra Mendoza, a senior program manager at the City Clerk's office.

In the L.A. Unified School District board race in District 6, Kelly Gonez led Imelda Padilla by 748 votes. There are at least 2,700 ballots still to be counted in that race, also not counting the later vote by mail ballots.

Torossian, who trails Rodriguez, has not yet conceded the council race. But Rodriguez nonetheless was greeted warmly at Wednesday's City Council meeting. Councilwoman Nury Martinez introduced Rodriguez as though the results were final, calling her "councilwoman-elect."

"This is going to be an incredible journey," Rodriguez said, during brief remarks before the council. "It was a hard-fought battle, guys, thank you so much ... I look forward to serving alongside you." 

Torossian could not be reached for comment, but a campaign staffer said the candidate feels Rodriguez was claiming a premature victory.

On Friday, Pat Dennis, Rodriguez's campaign manager, said her team has not officially declared victory. "Nobody’s claiming anything until the vote is all said and done,” Dennis said.

He said Rodriguez called and spoke to Torossian on Wednesday and that Rodriguez wants to have a good working relationship with him moving forward. 

“We feel like we’re in a pretty good position ... it looks like she’s going to be the next council member," Dennis said.  

The City Clerk's office plans to announce the next vote count update on Tuesday. It has until June 13 to finish the ballot tally.