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Signal Hill mayor forges ahead by one vote

March 09, 2007|J. Michael Kennedy | Times Staff Writer

Larry Forester, the mayor of Signal Hill, is ahead by a single vote going into Monday's recount.

Though the slimmest of margins, it is a lot better than being down by nine, which was the case after the ballots were counted in Tuesday's city election.

But then the absentee and provisional ballots were added in, and those gave Forester the upper hand, by a vote of 429 to 428 over challenger Nancy Long.

"Emotionally, it's a roller- coaster ride," Forester said. "One minute you're nine down and the next minute you're one up."

This is one of those elections where the trite expression about every vote counting comes into play.

In this case, Long seemed headed for victory, leading Forester 416 to 407 in the initial count.

Two City Council positions were at stake in Tuesday's election. One seat went to Vice Mayor Tina Hansen, who easily won her fourth four-year term with 446 votes.

But the race for the second seat was closer, with retired business owner Long mounting a campaign that included an attack on a local strip club that she dubbed "The Best Little Whorehouse in Signal Hill."

Long appeared to have won before the counting of the absentee and provisional votes. (A provisional ballot is one cast by a voter who goes to the wrong polling place, fails to receive an absentee ballot or has recently moved.)

City Clerk Kathleen Pacheco ordered the recount Thursday after a random canvass indicated that the ballots could have been miscounted.

Long could not be reached for comment.

Forester said he wished that he had worked harder to get out the vote.

But, he said, "I don't see any problem. I'm not worried."

*

michael.kennedy@latimes.com

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