Krekorian heading to L.A. City Hall after double-digit win

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Assemblyman Paul Krekorian (D-Los Angeles) was elected to the Los Angeles City Council by a double-digit margin Tuesday, setting the stage for a special election to fill the seat he will vacate in Sacramento.

Krekorian earned 57% of the 19,170 votes cast, defeating former Paramount Pictures executive Christine Essel, who won over 43% of voters.

His victory came despite a record-setting total of campaign spending in support of Essel, who was backed by more than $1.7 million, compared with $746,653 spent on Krekorian’s behalf, according to the most recent financial disclosures published last week by the Los Angeles Ethics Commission.

Campaign spending made on behalf of Essel by outside groups totaled more than $800,000, compared with about $175,000 for Krekorian, and reportedly set a Los Angeles record for the most spent by third-party organizations to support a candidate in a single-district election.

Krekorian’s victory came largely as a result of absentee voters, as he won 58% of the 10,988 ballots submitted by mail prior to election day.

Officials in Glendale and Burbank have been ambivalent about Krekorian’s intention to switch from the Assembly to L.A. City Hall.

They have regretted the prospect of losing a productive ally in Sacramento, but were hopeful that he would retain his relationship with the cities and foster closer cooperation with L.A. on joint projects, of which there are many.

Krekorian’s win will kick off what observers expect will be a hotly contested election to replace him in the Assembly.

The Los Angeles County Republican Party has already endorsed former Burbank Chamber of Commerce Chairman Sundar Ramani in that race, with the election day still to be determined, party chairwoman Jane Barnett has said.

Barnett lives in Burbank and plans to pull campaign workers out of other districts to make a strong push to retake the 43rd Assembly District, which represents much of Glendale and Burbank, as well as some bordering Los Angeles communities.

Democrat Mike Gatto, former district director for Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks), has also entered the race.

Although other candidates have not yet come forward, more Democrats are expected to compete to be a part of what could be a transformative time in California’s political history as popular support has emerged for major governmental reforms, said Lee Wochner, a founding member of the Burbank Democratic Club.

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Written by Zain Shauk

December 9, 2009 at 7:48 am

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