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L.A. council race heads to runoff

Voters will choose between Joe Buscaino and Warren Furutani for 15th District seat.

November 10, 2011|Kate Linthicum and Ricardo Lopez
  • Election workers make phone calls at Joe Buscaino's headquarters in San Pedro on Tuesday.
Election workers make phone calls at Joe Buscaino's headquarters… (Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles…)

A special visitor showed up at Joe Buscaino's celebratory election-night party in San Pedro on Tuesday night. It was Rep. Janice Hahn, the former Los Angeles councilwoman whose 15th District seat Buscaino is hoping to win in a runoff election in January.

"You're going to go all the way," Hahn told Buscaino, before posing with him for pictures.

A Los Angeles Police Department officer with no political experience, Buscaino was the top vote-getter in Tuesday's special election, earning 29.1% of the 16,440 votes cast -- a turnout of about 16% of the district's registered voters, according to city officials. Assemblyman Warren Furutani (D-Gardena) came in second with 22.3%.

They will square off in a runoff election Jan. 17. The winner will serve out the remainder of Hahn's council term and then will be eligible to run for a full four-year term in 2013.

Businessman Jayme Wilson, who spent $125,000 of his own money on the campaign, came in third with 12% of the vote. Firefighter Pat McOsker, whose campaign benefited from $375,950 in spending by several labor unions, came in fourth with 9.9%.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Friday, November 11, 2011 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 4 News Desk 1 inches; 48 words Type of Material: Correction
L.A. City Council race: In the Nov. 10 LATExtra section, a photo caption with an article about the race for a seat on the Los Angeles City Council going to a runoff misidentified the person pictured as an election worker. The photo, above, showed council candidate Joe Buscaino.

Former City Councilman Rudy Svorinich Jr., who was seeking a third term after serving on the panel from 1993 to 2001, came in fifth with 9.1%. Nearly $2 million was spent in the race, which kicked off three months ago after Hahn was elected to Congress in July.

The 15th District takes in San Pedro, Wilmington, Harbor City, Harbor Gateway and Watts. Buscaino, a first-generation Italian American, focused much of his efforts in his hometown of San Pedro.

His campaign got off to an early start: He was the first candidate to hit the $50,000 mark in campaign fundraising and the first candidate to qualify for the ballot.

Furutani, who lives in Harbor Gateway, focused on reaching out to voters outside San Pedro. He was the only candidate with a campaign office in Watts, where he sent mailers touting his endorsements by African American and Latino elected officials. The tactic, he said, "proved to be a really good strategy."

Speaking from a party at his campaign headquarters in Wilmington, where Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa joined him, Furutani said it's a strategy he plans to continue in the 2 1/2 months until the runoff.


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