Election results for City Council show one decisive victory; multiple runoffs in November

Councilmember Roberto Uranga appears to have won a third term representing the 7th District on the City Council, and incumbent Downtown Councilmember Mary Zendejas is just shy of the 50% need to avoid a runoff in November, according to election results as of Wednesday morning.

Early returns show Uranga with a commanding 62% of early votes in the West Long Beach district. Long Beach’s primary only requires that a candidate earn over 50% of votes to avoid a runoff election.

As of Wednesday morning, Zendejas had 49.9% of the vote; her nearest competitor is Mariela Salgado with 28%.

In the 5th District, LBUSD Board of Education member Megan Kerr had 48%, with her nearest competitor, Ian Patton, at 33%.

The city’s 3rd District race, which includes Belmont Shore, Naples and some neighborhoods south of the Traffic Circle, had the largest candidate field outside of the mayor’s race. The two candidates who emerged with the most votes so far were Kristina Duggan (23%), Greg Magnuson and Nima Novin, who both had approximately 19% of the early vote. As of Wednesday morning, Novin had just 28 more votes than Magnuson.

North Long Beach’s 9th District is currently a two-person race with Jonie Ricks-Oddie (44%) and Ginny Gonzales (27%) leading the field of three active candidates. Gus Orozco, an Army veteran, dropped out of the race after the ballots were finalized. Despite endorsing Ricks-Oddie, he still garnered 16% of the early vote.

If she prevails, Ricks-Oddie would replace Councilmember Rex Richardson, who is running for mayor.

In Downtown’s 1st District, which saw some of the biggest changes after the city’s redistricting process, incumbent Zendejas is trying to fend off a challenge from city commissioner and community activist Mariela Salgado, who received 28% of the vote.

In the 5th District in East Long Beach, Kerr is likely to compete in November against Patton, a political consultant and frequent critic of City Hall.  The incumbent in that district, Stacy Mungo, was drawn out of the new district boundaries and was ineligible to run.

The composition of the City Council going forward will hinge on the Nov. 8 runoff results. Candidates backed by the political establishment, including Zendejas and Kerr, could help solidify a more progressive voting block on the council.

Their opponents, Salgado and Patton, would shake up the dynamic of the council going forward. Both Patton and Salgado are pushing for change within City Hall and could tilt the council in a more moderate direction and upend a majority that has been in place since 2020.

Things could get even more interesting for the future of the City Council if Councilmember Al Austin remains in contention for the November runoff for the 69th State Assembly race. An Austin victory in November would require a special election to be held to fill his seat for the remainder of his term, which is set to expire in December 2024.

Austin currently holds 26% of the vote with Josh Lowenthal, son of longtime Congressman Alan Lowenthal, leading with 46%.

Voter turnout was very low heading into the Tuesday primary and early election results do not appear to show a large bump in turnout from the 10% of voters that had cast ballots before Tuesday.

A Cal State Long Beach poll released Monday showed a number of concerns were on the minds of voters, with homelessness and crime topping the list. Those issues and how the remaining candidates propose to address them could be big factors in determining winners in November.

So could larger voter turnout. Long Beach and other cities were required to align their elections with the state after the 2018 elections meaning the November vote will be aligned with statewide ballot measures and a potentially more focused effort to turn out voters tied to an expected Supreme Court decision on Roe v. Wade.

Election results are expected to be updated through the evening Tuesday, again on Friday afternoon, and then on a rolling basis on Mondays and Fridays until Los Angeles County Election officials certify the election, likely in the first week of July.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated Wednesday morning with current vote totals. 

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Jason Ruiz has been covering City Hall for the Post for nearly a decade. A Long Beach resident, Ruiz graduated from Cal State Long Beach with a degree in journalism. He and his wife Kristina and, most importantly, their dog Mango, live in Long Beach. He is a particularly avid fan of the Dallas Cowboys and the UCLA Bruins, which is why he sometimes comes to work after the weekend in a grumpy mood.