LOS ANGELES (CNS) -- Community relations manager Imelda Padilla said Wednesday she is "happy and humbled'' by the support of voters propelling her to victory in the race to fill the Sixth District Los Angeles City Council seat left vacant by the resignation of Nury Martinez.
Unofficial results from Tuesday's special election gave Padilla 6,684 votes, while council aide Marisa Alcaraz received 5,096 votes -- a 56.74% to 43.26% margin in the race to fill out the remainder of Martinez's term, ending in December 2024.
According to the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk's Office, turnout based on the semi-official results was 10.04%.
About 3,280 ballots from Tuesday's election -- most of them vote-by-mail ballots -- still need to be counted, according to the county. The county will also continue to accept mail ballots through July 5, as long as they were postmarked by Tuesday.
Despite the number of outstanding ballots, Alcaraz will be hard-pressed to overcome the deficit she is facing, as she would need roughly three-quarters of those votes to be in her favor. The next updated vote tally is scheduled to be released Friday.
The county clerk will certify the results on July 7, and the winner will take her seat sometime after the council returns from its three-week summer recess July 7-28.
Padilla issued a statement Wednesday afternoon saying she's "incredibly happy and humbled by last night's election results.''
"While there are still more ballots to count to finalize results, I am thankful for the love, trust and support that I have received from the voters in the 6th Council District,'' Padilla said. "From day one, my campaign has been driven by my love for the valley and my passion for fighting to make sure local government works for the people.''
She said she looks forward to the next vote count update "so that we can work together to ensure that our families' needs are addressed and their voices are heard within City Hall. The work starts now.''
When initial ballot returns were announced Tuesday evening, a representative from Alcaraz's campaign insisted the vote-counting was still continuing.
"More people voted in person tonight than they did in the primary,'' according to the Alcaraz campaign. "Marisa is on the right side of history and will continue to work for working families in any capacity.''
Padilla finished first in the April 4 primary with 25.65% of the vote but fell short of a majority, necessitating the runoff against Alcaraz, who was second in the seven-candidate field with 21.13%.
District 6 consists of Van Nuys, Arleta, Lake Balboa, Panorama City, Sun Valley and the eastern portions of North Hills and North Hollywood.
During the campaign, Padilla pledged to prioritize "an immediate solution to the unhoused crisis because what is currently occurring is not working.''
"I will propose an emergency remediation of encampments, connecting the unhoused population to essential services that will support them in finding housing, employment, and health services,'' Padilla said on her campaign's website.
"I will work cohesively with all stakeholders, residents, non-profits organizations, religious leaders, business owners and health organizations to develop and implement sensible hyper-local solutions that make our communities safer, sanitary, and sustainable.''
Padilla was born in Van Nuys and raised in Sun Valley, graduating from Roscoe Elementary School, Byrd Middle School and Polytechnic High School.
She received a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's degree from Cal State Northridge.
Alcaraz told CNS late Tuesday morning she was "proud of the campaign we've run, the endorsements that we have, and the team that we've built.''
The 38-year-old Alcaraz is deputy chief of staff and environmental policy director to Ninth District Councilman Curren Price. She was raised in Lake Balboa and graduated from Birmingham High School. She received a bachelor's degree from UC Irvine and a master's degree from USC.
Martinez represented the district until October, when she resigned first her Council presidency and then, two days later, her seat altogether after she was caught making racist comments in a meeting that was secretly taped and leaked to the news media.
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