John Lee Wins Special Election in L.A. City Council District 12

Longtime Los Angeles City Hall aide John Lee has won the special election to represent City Council District 12, a seat formerly occupied by Mitch Englander. And he gets to do it all over again in seven months.

As of Thursday morning, election results had Lee leading with 16,724 to 15,395 votes or 52.07% to 47.93%. His opponent, astrophysicist and educator Loraine Lundquist, conceded Wednesday.

The San Fernando Valley seat was a major focus for Democrats. Although the City Council is ostensibly bipartisan, political ideology influences a whole host of issues from business to the environment. Englander had been the dais’ lone Republican before he left for the private sector last year and progressives hoped they could get one of their own into the seat. Lee is a registered Republican, while Lundquist is a Democrat.

As the Los Angeles Times notes, Lundquist “ran into a buzz saw of opposition from some of City Hall’s most experienced players, including business groups, the police officers’ union and former council members who represented the northwest Valley for generations.” Her environmental policies in particular were portrayed as too radical for the Republican-leaning district.

Because this was a special election, the winner will have to run again in March 2020.