All photos by Stephanie Rivera.
Long Beach City Councilman Dee Andrews comfortably secured a seat in this June’s run-off election after obtaining 48.1 percent of the vote from the city’s Sixth District on Tuesday—nearly twice as many votes as his runoff competitor Erik Miller, who trailed behind him with 27.4 percent.
The district’s other two candidates were left in the dust. Robert Harmon finished with 14.4 percent and Josephine A. Villasenor grabbed 10.1 percent of the votes.
Despite being the only write-in candidate in the Sixth District race, Dee Andrews started off strong by securing just over 40 percent of the vote-by-mail (VBM) ballots.
“It tells me the people in this community, especially my district, truly have a concern about their Sixth District Councilperson,” said Andrews, regarding the VBM preliminary results during his watching party at the La Lune Imperial restaurant Tuesday night. “And from the way it looks, I’m going to have me another four years.”
While expressing excitement, Andrews also admitted to the difficulty of getting people to write his name on the ballot, noting that some thought they had to write their own name or weren’t sure of the spelling.
Even if voters misspelled a candidate’s name or spelled it phonetically, as long as it was written in the correct place and workers could make out who they were trying to vote for, it still counted, according to City Clerk Maria de la Luz Garcia.
Regardless, Andrews won’t need to worry about the issue in June, since de la Luz Garcia said his name will appear on the ballot then.
While Andrews’ watch party didn’t extend past 11:00PM, the incumbent saw visits from his colleagues, including Mayor Robert Garcia and Councilmembers Lena Gonzalez, Daryl Supernaw, Suzie Price and Rex Richardson.
The only other candidate to have a watch party was Miller, who hosted family and friends at the Ronald McDonald House, a place he said he’s served at many times by providing food, cleaning and more.
While Miller was happy that his efforts were showing in the numbers, he said that he had hoped for better results.
“I’d be lying if I didn't say I wanted to win it outright,” Miller said. “I understand we’re going up against a legend—he’s been in Long Beach a long time—but like my slogan said, it’s time for change.”
Miller said he would continue prioritizing public safety and creating a safe environment for families and is not looking to change up his strategy for getting elected, which he admitted has been tricky, due to the large amount of illegal electioneering he has encountered during the campaign. He said he counted at least 14 cases that he himself reported to the city clerk’s office.
Though de la Luz Garcia did not have specific numbers on reported illegal electioneering throughout the city, she did say one call came in on Election Day regarding a sign illegally placed at or near Martin Luther King Park, which also was the site of a polling place.
According to the latest tally on the city clerk’s website, Andrews finished with 828 votes and Miller with 471 votes. The city clerk did note that 295 ballots still need to be counted for the Sixth District, and her office will release the final official results of the municipal primary election by end-of-day Friday—after all the VBM and provisional ballots have been counted.