With at least 10,000 absentee ballots left to count, veteran Los Angeles Community College District trustee Arthur Bronson was clinging to 50% of the vote total Wednesday, hoping to avoid a June runoff with conservative Richard Ferraro.
However, Bronson will have to wait until April 19, the city elections office said, to know whether he has won a fourth term outright or if he will have to try again in June. Officials said it will take that long to count the remaining absentee ballots.
In the West San Fernando Valley, a runoff is scheduled between a conservative professor who has opposed mandatory busing and a liberal, union-backed high school teacher.
The two will vie in June to fill the seat on the Los Angeles school board vacated by the retiring Tom Bartman.
David Armor, a former Rand Corp. social scientist who testified against busing in the Los Angeles school desegregation case, won a solid 40% of the vote in Tuesday's balloting.
In somewhat of a surprise, however, Elizabeth Ginsburg, a history and government teacher at Chatsworth High School, emerged from the pack to capture second place, with 22% of the vote.
"I'm really amazed," Ginsburg said after besting two candidates who had more money and endorsements. "It's quite an experience for a government teacher."
Ginsburg received the aid and endorsement of the United Teachers of Los Angeles, which hopes to get a second teacher on the seven-member Board of Education.
"We don't foresee a big turnout (in the June election), and UTLA will work tenaciously to get our vote out," said Inola Henry, who heads the union's political action committee.
The other Valley board member, Roberta Weintraub, easily won reelection, drawing 65% of the vote against Mary Louise Longoria, an educational consultant.
On the Westside, board member Alan Gershman did even better, getting 82% of the vote against John Honigsfeld, an aerospace engineer.
Neither Weintraub nor Gershman were backed by the teachers union. The remaining four members of the board who were not up for election--Rita Walters, Jackie Goldberg, Larry Gonzalez and John Greenwood--were endorsed by the union in their past campaigns.
For two incumbents on the Los Angeles Community College Board of Trustees, Bronson and Lindsay Conner, Tuesday was a long night. In the early tallies, both had about 45% of the vote against several challengers, but their percentages inched up as returns came in throughout the night.
Conner, 29, a Los Angeles attorney, finished with 52% of the vote, giving him a second term on the board that governs the district's nine community colleges.
Bronson, 68, finished with 50.14% of the ballots counted and a total 195,945 votes, only 1,164 more than Ferraro and the two other challengers.
Ferraro, a 14-year member of the Los Angeles school board, had not given up hope Wednesday that he would get another chance at a citywide campaign.
"I still think there's chance" for a runoff, he said. "I really want to air some of the issues and the problems in those community colleges."
Joe Giles, city elections supervisor, said counting and certifying the absentee ballots is "a lengthy, time-consuming, manual process," which will not be completed until April 19.
"We think that's moving pretty fast. We could (under city regulations) go until April 23," Giles said.
The third incumbent, Wallace Albertson, won an easy primary victory over one opponent, Julia Wrigley, a UCLA education professor.