About 140 votes shy of what he needed for an outright victory, incumbent City Councilman Gil Cedillo will now face challenger Joe Bray-Ali in a May runoff for his First Council District seat.
According to the final March 7 Primary vote tally certified by the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder Tuesday, Cedillo’s initial lead dropped from a high of 51.2 percent to 49.39 percent – just below the 50 percent plus one votes needed to avoid a runoff with second place finisher Bray-Ali, who received 37.97 percent of votes cast.
In terms of actual numbers, Cedillo had 10,396 votes in his column while Bray-Ali finished with 8,000 votes.
Cedillo, a veteran politician who served in both the State Senate and Assembly before winning a seat on the city council, faced four challengers for his council seat.
The council district includes some of the city’s most densely populated and diverse neighborhoods in multiple Central and Northeast Los Angeles communities, including, Cypress Park, Glassell Park, Chinatown, Echo Park, Elysian Park, Highland Park, Koreatown, Lincoln Heights, MacArthur Park, Pico Union, University Park and a section of downtown.
This is the first run for office for Bray-Ali, a former bicycle shop owner and bicycle advocate, who has for years dogged the councilman for his part in stopping dedicated bike lanes from being installed along a portion of Figueroa Street running from Highland Park to Cypress Park.
Throughout the campaign, Cedillo touted his work on homelessness, immigration, and infrastructure improvements such as new sidewalks, streetlights and traffic signals in the district and across the city. He pointed to “innovative programs” that resulted in the removal of hundreds of tons of trash and bulky items, which Mayor Garcetti later adapted for citywide use.
During the lead up to the March 7 primary, Bray-Ali repeatedly called for new leadership. He accused Cedillo of neglecting the first council district and being unresponsive to residents.
Longtime Chicano activist Rosalio Munoz and Cedillo supporter said Tuesday he believes many Cedillo supporters failed to show up to vote, thinking their candidate would skate to an easy win.
“That won’t happen again, we’re going to work on getting people to the polls in May,” he said.
“Councilman Cedillo has deep roots and understands the needs of this community, everyone in the community, not just the newcomers,” Munoz said.
In a statement emailed Tuesday to EGP, Bray-Ali said, “There’s a reason why a young challenger and outsider candidate made it to where we did.
“But this is about more than just an upstart candidacy. This is about basic municipal services and a responsive council office. If you live in our community there are problems you deal with on a daily basis,” he said.
“We need someone in this district who is focusing on issues big and small to provide competent management to the residents of CD1.”
For his part, Cedillo remained resolute and confident Tuesday, telling EGP that he “will continue to reach out to voters, unify our district, and continue the work we have been doing to make the First District #1.”
The runoff election will be held on May 16.
About 140 votes shy of the 50 percent plus one votes needed for an outright victory, incumbent City Councilman Gil Cedillo likely will have to face his challenger, Joe Bray-Ali, in a May runoff for his First Council District seat following final vote results released today.
According to the new figures, Cedillo’s vote count fell to 49.34 percent, with Bray-Ali coming in second with 37.97 percent.
The results will not be certified until Tuesday, but with 100 percent of all precincts counted and the tally of the vote-by-mail and provisional votes completed, Cedillo had 10,396 votes in his column while Bray-Ali finished with 8,000 votes.
Any registered voter can ask for a recount, if he or she is willing to pay for it, within five days of the certification. The fee varies based on how many people are needed for the recount, but can range from $5,054 to $21,158 per day.
Cedillo finished the March 7 election with 50.98 percent of the vote and a March 10 update saw him increase his lead to 51.28 percent.
Another update released last Tuesday, however, showed his lead drop below 50 percent, and it stayed below 50 percent in an update on Friday.
A runoff election would be held on May 16.