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Western San Fernando Valley gave Villaraigosa a no-confidence vote

March 08, 2009|Phil Willon

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa received his strongest voter support in Tuesday's city election from the heavily urbanized neighborhoods that ring downtown Los Angeles and a sharp vote of no confidence from the western San Fernando Valley, an analysis of preliminary election results shows.

Villaraigosa won a second four-year term with 55.6% of the citywide vote, beating a field of nine little-known and underfunded candidates in an election that attracted just 15% of the city's registered voters. Villaraigosa dominated in the heavily Latino Eastside and did especially well in the eastern end of South Los Angeles and in Wilmington.

The Los Angeles solar energy plan known as Measure B, which is trailing in the still ongoing vote tally, was roundly rejected by voters in the Valley, and it foundered on the Westside. Unofficial election results showed 50.3% of citywide voters opposing the measure and 49.7% favoring it.

More than 239,000 Los Angeles voters cast ballots in Tuesday's election, though about 46,000 ballots have yet to be processed by the city elections office. Those include mail-in ballots dropped off at polling sites or mailed the day of the election, as well as provisional ballots and damaged ballots. Processing and verifying the validity of those ballots might not be completed until March 24.

A Los Angeles Times analysis of the preliminary vote count showed that Villaraigosa won the election in 14 of the 15 City Council districts -- losing to challenger Walter Moore in conservative northwest San Fernando Valley's 12th District, which includes Chatsworth and Northridge and is represented by Councilman Greig Smith. Moore, a business attorney from Carthay Circle who was the closest challenger to the mayor, received 42.4% of the vote compared with Villaraigosa's 37.3% in that district.

Moore won 26.3% of the vote citywide.

Because of the 46,000 uncounted ballots, Villaraigosa's margin of victory could -- in theory -- slip below 50% of the citywide vote, which would force him into a runoff election against Moore. For that to happen, however, Villaraigosa must receive less than 32% of the uncounted votes. His vote count exceeded that number in every council district.

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phil.willon@latimes.com

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