LOS ANGELES - Incumbent David Ryu conceded the Los Angeles City Council District 4 race to challenger Nithya Raman, who maintained a consistent lead as vote-counting continued and expanded it enough to seal the victory.
Raman had 52.4% of the vote as of Friday afternoon, with nearly 6,000 votes separating the pair. Raman's lead over Ryu grew about 600 votes Friday compared to Thursday's numbers.
There are still more than 600,000 ballots to be counted across the county, according to the Los Angeles Registrar Recorder/County Clerk's office, but it was unclear how many are from the council district.
"The voters of District Four have spoken, and I respect the outcome of this election,'' Ryu said in a prepared statement late Friday afternoon. "I am proud of the race we (ran) and I will always be proud of the diverse coalition behind this campaign, working people, Democratic Party leaders and hundreds of volunteers and community leaders from across Council District Four.
"I congratulate my opponent on her victory. Having won on a wave of reform five years ago, I know how difficult it is to implement change in City Hall. I wish her success in continuing our shared goal of reform in local government and in serving our city.''
Raman is an urban planner, homeless advocate and a former executive director of Time's Up Entertainment, a nonprofit that works against sexual harassment and abuse in the workforce.
"This is a moment of hope,'' Raman said in a statement Wednesday. "...There is absolutely no doubt that progress won in Los Angeles last night. The incredible victories by the movements for radical, carceral, environmental and housing justice will reverberate throughout our city for years to come.''
Council President Nury Martinez congratulated Raman on her victory
"I'm excited to have a third woman of color join this council, and I know she is going to bring her knowledge, energy and passion to hit the ground running,'' Martinez said. ``I look forward to working with her.''
Ryu championed himself as a reformist on the council and pushed for more transparency in government and touted his efforts to bring A Bridge Home
transitional housing projects to his district. Had he won reelection, Ryu said he would have prioritized the city's budget, which has been hampered by COVID-19, to continue to deliver the most critical city services.
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 03: As the sun begins to set Matthew Gaston, 37, of Los Angeles, holds up a vote sign for Nithya Raman for LA City Council down the street from a voting center inside The Wiltern on election day on Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020 in
"This job, and my entire life, have been about serving the people of this city,'' Ryu said during an online election-night briefing. "No matter what happens in this election, I promise you that I will never stop serving my city and I will never stop fighting for what is right. This campaign has never been about me. It has been about us, and the city that we can build together.''
Ryu tried to get a rent cancellation ordinance passed earlier this year due to the pandemic, but it failed to get enough support after City Attorney's Office representatives questioned whether the city had the authority to completely halt rent payments.
Raman has been working with nonprofit organizations, and said she would work to help reduce the city's homeless population by protecting tenants and lowering rents.
On policing, Raman said she wants to remove armed officers from situations in which they aren't needed, while maintaining the ability to protect people against violence.
That stance is similar to Ryu's, though the two clashed over whose proposal would be better.
Both candidates secured high-profile endorsements. Vermont Democratic
Sen. Bernie Sanders endorsed Raman and Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi endorsed Ryu. The Democratic Socialists of America's Los Angeles chapter also congratulated Raman on her win.