David Ryu in the driver’s seat to advance to May runoff

March 4, 2015

The City Clerk’s office says the Korean American candidate for  L.A. City Council has 61 vote lead over Tomas O’Grady, but another 43,814 remain to be tallied.  

David Ryu and his supporters are very optimistic about earning a spot in the May 19 runoff. (Park Sang-hyuk / The Korea Times)

David Ryu and his supporters are very optimistic about earning a spot in the
May 19 runoff. (Park Sang-hyuk / The Korea Times)

LOS ANGELES (CNS) – Termed-out City Councilman Tom LaBonge’s former chief of staff topped a field of 14 candidates in a bid to replace him and she will advance to a May runoff election, but it’s unclear today who she will face as thousands of ballots have yet to be counted.

Carolyn Ramsay led the pack of hopefuls in the Fourth District Los Angeles city balloting Tuesday.

Unofficial results released by the City Clerk’s Office showed David Ryu — a director at the Kedren Acute Psychiatric Hospital and Community Health Center — in second place so far and therefore possibly earning a spot in the May 19 runoff. But Ryu still could find himself excluded from the runoff as initial third-place finisher Tomas O’Grady, a nonprofit director, was just 61 votes behind Ryu.

The City Clerk’s office reported that even though most votes have been counted, another 43,814 remain to be tallied including provisional ballots, vote-by-mail ballots turned in on election day at the polls, ballots received by mail this week and ballots with snags such as missing information or illegibility.

With 1.8 million registered voters in Los Angeles and a total of 157,577 ballots tallied by the City Clerk’s Office on Tuesday, the voter turnout for the city election now sits at 8.6 percent. The voter turnout percentage will be higher in the certified numbers.

Ryu was the sole Asian-American in the 4th District race and would become the only one on the City Council if he is in the runoff and then is ultimately elected. There has not been an Asian-American council member since Michael Woo served on the City Council from 1985 to 1993.

The candidates are seeking to represent a district that includes suburban communities in the San Fernando Valley as well as neighborhoods surrounding Griffith Park, Miracle Mile and Hollywood.

Ryu campaigned on a platform of improving communication between the city and residents and says he supports raising the minimum wage and gradually eliminating the gross receipts tax.

Ramsay is looking to succeed her former boss. She touts 15 years of experience working on issues affecting the district, initially as a journalist and environmental activist, then as a member of LaBonge’s staff for about nine years.

O’Grady is the director of the nonprofit organization EnrichLA that works with schools to build edible gardens. He said his priorities include environmental and financial sustainability. He also wants to focus on the issues of development and transportation.