Former City Hall aide John Lee had a narrow early lead Tuesday over astrophysicist and college educator Loraine Lundquist in a closely watched race to represent Chatsworth, Granada Hills and other parts of the northwest San Fernando Valley on the Los Angeles City Council.
Although the race was nonpartisan — no “R” or “D” appeared next to the candidates’ names on the ballot — the special election has mobilized Democrats eager to flip a seat long held by Republicans.
In recent years, the Valley seat has been the sole one held by a Republican on a City Council dominated by Democrats. But rising numbers of Democrats and nonpartisan voters in the district, along with thinning numbers of registered Republicans, have generated excitement on the left about the Valley race.
Lee, a Republican who worked for the last councilman to hold the seat, campaigned on his long history in the district and billed himself as a fiscal conservative who would be a “different voice” on a City Council dominated by Democrats.
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