By T.A. Hendrickson
The final update of the primary vote in Los Angeles County was released July 1.
The local race for city council in NELA’s Council District 1 has been decided outright, as has the race for NELA’s county supervisor. Other races to represent NELA in the city council, school board, state assembly and U.S. Congress have been winnowed to two candidates each who will compete in the general election in November.
Here’s where things stand now for races in Northeast L.A., with an emphasis on the noteworthy gains of female candidates in local races.
Los Angeles City Council
In the race for L.A. City Council for NELA’s Council District 1, community organizer and policy advocate Eunisses Hernandez has defeated incumbent Gilbert ‘Gil’ Cedillo. Hernandez finished with 54.04% of the primary vote to 45.96% for Cedillo.
In the race for L.A. City Council for NELA’s CD 13, labor organizer Hugo Soto-Martinez has forced incumbent Mitch O’Farrell into a runoff election to be held in November. Soto-Martinez is in the stronger position: He captured 40.63% of the primary vote compared with 31.65% for O’Farrell.
The victory of Eunisses Hernandez will expand the number of women on the 15-member L.A. City Council to four. (The other three female councilmembers are Nury Martinez (CD 6), Nithya Raman (CD 4) and Monica Rodriguez (CD 7).
Following the runoff elections in November, the number of women on the L.A. City Council will probably rise to five and possibly to seven.
The best shot for another female candidate to win a city council seat is in the Westside’s CD 5, where political aide Katy Young Yaroslavsky won 48.97% of the primary vote in a four-way race to replace termed-out Councilmember Paul Koretz. Yaroslavsky will compete in a runoff in November against attorney Sam Yebri, who placed a distant second in the primary with 26.69% of the vote.
In CD 11 and CD 15, attorney Traci Park and community leader Danielle Sandoval, respectively, have also made it to the runoff rounds. Both women came in second behind male competitors, attorney Erin Darling in CD 11 and attorney Tim McOsker in CD 15. But the men do not have commanding leads in the primaries, so the runoff elections could be close.
Why would it be good to have more women on the L.A. City Council? For one thing, gender parity is a form of equality, so it’s desirable in itself. In addition, research shows that having more women in a group leads to better decision making; research also shows the more women in a group, the better, in terms of the group’s collective intelligence level. Moreover, groups that are male-dominated simply because they have always been that way are, by definition, not fully mining the available talent pool.
Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors
Speaking of women, Hilda Solis, NELA’s incumbent L.A. County Supervisor in the 1st supervisory district, won 75.91% of the primary vote in a race where four challengers tried to unseat her – an extraordinary showing.
The five-member L.A. County Board of Supervisors has been all-female since 2020. Whether it remains so will depend on the outcome of a runoff election for the open seat in 3rd Supervisory District between State Senator Bob Hertzberg (18th District), who won 31.08% of the primary vote in a six-way race and West Hollywood City Councilmember Lindsey Horvath, who won 27.74%.
Los Angeles Unified School District
When all is said and done in November, the gender configuration on the LAUSD Board will remain as it is now – four women and three men.
In the meantime, a runoff will decide who will win the open seat to represent NELA’s Board District 2: Rocío Rivas, a policy aide to LAUSD board member Jackie Goldberg, is in the lead, having won 44.17% of the primary vote in a four-way race. She will compete against Maria Brenes, a nonprofit executive, who won 30.45% of the primary vote.
NELA will continue to be represented by a woman in the State Assembly. The question is who? Incumbent Wendy Carrillo will compete in the general election against challenger Mia Livas Porter. Carrillo won 49.21% of the primary vote in a three-way race; Porter won 38.74%.
In the race to represent NELA’s 34th District in the U.S. House of Representatives, incumbent Jimmy Gomez will compete in the general election in November against attorney and community leader David Kim. Gomez won 50.73% of the primary vote in a three-way race; Kim won 39.04%. While Gomez’s greater-than-half share of the primary vote is a plus heading into the general election, it is a weak showing compared to performances in the primary by most other incumbent congressmembers from California.