L.A. Councilman Bernard Parks is declaring victory in his hard-fought re-election campaign this morning, having barely eked out a majority of the vote with 100% of precincts reporting.
But his top opponent, Forescee Hogan-Rowles, is not conceding. On Twitter, she said, “Too close to call, still waiting on provisionals and absentee ballots to be counted. The fight goes on!”
With all the precinct ballots in, Parks has 50.9% of the vote, to 44.0% for Hogan-Rowles. Early this morning, Parks tweeted a victory message: “Thank for Re Electing me!!!!!!!”
He needs 50% of the vote to avoid a runoff against Hogan-Rowles on
text message around 2 a.m. whether she would concede or wait,
Hogan-Rowles responded: “WAIT!!!”
In a subsequent press release, Hogan-Rowles said there are 1,800 to 3,000 uncounted ballots in the 8th Council District.
“While the results of the election are inconclusive as of tonight, I'm proud that we've got Bernard Parks on the ropes, and he's desperately swinging and missing,” she said. “Given the trends we saw the results came in tonight, we are in a position to force a runoff.”
The race is a test of labor clout against a proven incumbent. Three
union groups spent $1.2 million to back Hogan-Rowles, who had little
name recognition within the district when the campaign began.
Even within labor, there were early doubts about the wisdom of throwing big money into an effort to unseat a sitting councilman. But in
the end, labor sources say that Maria-Elena Durazo, the head of the
L.A. County Fed, made the decision to go all-in.
“We knew going in that this was going to be an uphill battle,” said
Caroline O'Connor, a spokeswoman for the L.A. County Federation of
Labor. “If we can get close enough to put him on notice, then we've done
our job. But obviously we want to win.”
Parks accused Hogan-Rowles of being the “puppet” of labor, and at one point went so far as to compare two union leaders to slaveholders. On election day, he issued a final word to his constituents:
“Before you head to the polls on Tuesday, March 8, educate and inform yourself on the candidates and the issues. This election is too important to be fooled by the special-interst (sic) Puppet Masters!”