Candidate endorsed by landlord group leads in LA special election
Imelda Padilla is a 35-year-old community activist
Imelda Padilla, a 35-year-old community activist who recently won an endorsement from Greater L.A.’s most prominent landlord group, has emerged as the frontrunner in the special election to replace disgraced Los Angeles councilmember Nury Martinez.
Early vote counts indicate Padilla had won about 26 percent of the vote, the most of the seven-candidate field. She was trailed by Marisa Alcaraz, who had 19 percent, and Rose Grigoryan, who had 18 percent.
Because no candidate appears even close to a 50 percent threshold, a runoff between the top two candidates is all but guaranteed, which will be held in June.
Polls closed last night, but the results could still change because of incoming mail-in ballots, especially because turnout has been low. Another vote count update is expected Friday afternoon.
The race is officially nonpartisan but is essentially a race between progressives and moderate Democrats.
Padilla, who founded a nonprofit, has worked on issues that include girls’ education and professional development, environmental justice and raising the minimum wage. Early in her career she also worked under the now-disgraced Martinez at Pacoima Beautiful, a San Fernando Valley environmental group, and has drawn criticism as a “Nury clone,” Annenberg Media previously reported.
She’s also won a wide range of endorsements, including from multiple labor unions, Los Angeles Unified School Board members, the East Area Progressive Democrats, U.S. Rep. Tony Cardenas and L.A. City Council Member Monica Rodriguez.
The list also includes Apartment Association of Greater Los Angeles, the high-profile landlord group, which called her “the strongest candidate in the race supporting our members’ views.”
Padilla also won an endorsement from the Central City Association of Los Angeles, the Downtown L.A. economic development group.
Martinez resigned in October amid fallout from a recording of her in a conversation with racist remarks.
Los Angeles City Council District 6, which the election’s eventual winner will represent, covers the San Fernando Valley neighborhoods of Arleta, Sun Valley, North Hollywood, Lake Balboa, North Hills, Panorama City and Van Nuys.