UPDATE: With 100 percent of precincts reporting, the race goes to Sheila Kuehl and Bobby Shriver, who will face off in November. See below.
With most vote-by-mail ballots scanned and counted, a tight race between Sheila Kuehl and Bobby Shriver is shaping up in the battle to replace Zev Yaroslavsky on the L.A. County Board of Supervisors. However, West Hollywood City Councilman is in double digits in third place, so things could change.
The numbers: Kuehl 34.9 percent, Shriver 29.8 percent, Duran, 14.96 percent.
If none of the eight candidates running for this seat win more than half the vote on June 3 (the likely scenario, at this point), the top two vote-getters will square off on the November general election ballot.
The powerful, five-member Board of Supervisors represents 10 million people, oversees 4,000 square miles of land and controls a budget of roughly $25 billion. The sitting members have held office for a combined century.
But term limits are finally setting in; this year, Democrats Yaroslavsky and Gloria Molina will be termed out. In two years, Republicans Don Knabe and Mike Antonovich will follow.
Which means that 80 percent of the board is about to be flushed out and replaced. Starting tonight.
The Board is known for being good with money, not so good with things like transparency and jail violence. Even during the Great Recession, they kept a balanced budget and were one of the few governing bodies in California to not furlough or lay off workers - in part because they've negotiated firmly with public employee unions in the past.
Sheila Kuehl has been running to replace Zev since before anyone can remember. The former child actress and state legislator tried to sew the field up early, much like Hilda Solis has done in the 1st District. But Zev's 3rd District proved tougher to sew.
Her leading opponent is Shriver, a Kennedy cousin, philanthropist and former Santa Monica City Councilman. He's young, he's rich, he's sorta famous, he spent over a million dollars of his own money.
Kuehl has largely positioned herself as the "experienced" candidate, while Shriver has played the Obama-esque hooey-changey role. One notable departure from this paradigm was last month when Kuehl declared that she opposed tunneling under Beverly Hills High School to extend the purple line subway, aka, the Subway to the Sea (note: subway does not actually go to the sea but to Westwood), drawing criticisms from both Yaroslavsky and Shriver.
Normally now is the time where we'd start to list also-rans, except there's a third candidate who emerged as someone who maybe sort of has a chance - John Duran. Duran's had some nutty moments, like in 2012 when he stormed out of a West Hollwyood/Beverly Hills Democratic Cub meeting after the club endorsed Torie Osborn over his preference, Betsy Butler.
But Duran has been endorsed by both the Los Angeles Times and newish Mayor Eric Garcetti, who still has that new mayor smell. That's given Duran an aura of electability.
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And lets also mention Malibu City Council member Pamela Ulich, in fourth place behind Duran. And gadfly extraordinaire Eric Preven (of whom you can read more about here) has nearly 2 percent of the vote in early returns.
Updated at 11:15 p.m.:
What's the hold up on the W\westside? Many races statewide had 40 percent or more of their precincts counted, but out on the Westside, in Supervisorial District 3, only 6.17 percent of precincts had been counted at this hour.
Updated at 3:45 a.m.:
In a large field of candidates, Kuehl came away with 43,348 votes or 36.18 percent, while Shriver won 34,509 votes or 28.80 percent. John Duran was third with 19,577 votes or 16.34 percent.
Jill Stewart and Ani Urac also contributed to this article.