Former state Sen. Sheila Kuehl will face Bobby Shriver in a November runoff in their race to replace Zev Yaroslavsky on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.
Kuehl finished atop the field of candidates in Tuesday’s election, but was well short of the 50 percent needed to avoid a runoff.
John Duran, a West Hollywood Councilman, despite strong endorsements late in the race, including from Mayor Eric Garcetti, lagged a distant third.
“I’m the only person that’s represented most of this district, so most of my voters had already voted for me,” Kuehl told KCAL9 as election returns rolled in. “And you know, when they vote for you, they’re kind of invested in you.”
She said the big difference in the campaign was “experience.”
“Because the county is not like a city, the county is the implementation arm of the state,” she said. “So experience for 14 years in Sacramento is more relevant.”
Supervisor Gloria Molina, who endorsed winner Hilda Solis to fill her own First District seat, had hoped that Duran might secure a second Latino seat on the county board.
“Latinos make up close to 48 percent (of the county population) — yet, to date, just one Latino has served on the Board,” Molina said. “John Duran represents a younger generation of leadership, one which will reinvigorate the Third District and Los Angeles County as a whole.”
Yaroslavsky, who has represented the roughly 2 million residents who live in the affluent Westside/San Fernando district for 20 years, will term out in December. He did not endorse a successor.
Shriver and Kuehl split other key endorsements and had far outstripped Duran in fundraising, collecting nearly $1.9 million and $1.2 million to Duran’s roughly $400,000. Shriver contributed $1 million to his own campaign and raised the balance through individual donations capped at $300 each under campaign finance laws.
Former Malibu Mayor Pamela Conley Ulich, public watchdog Eric Preven, tutor Yuval Kremer, environmentalist and automotive technician Doug Fay and film lighting technician Rudy Melendez ran with little in the way of funding or big-name endorsements and gained little traction with voters.
Kuehl highlighted her policy work and experience in state government as critical to the role of running the county. The first openly gay or lesbian member of the Legislature, Kuehl served in the Assembly for six years and then as a senator for eight more. She has fought for legislation to protect victims of domestic violence, establish paid family leave and safeguard the environment, among other efforts. She said her priorities for L.A. County are affordable health care, improving the child welfare system and creating a countywide public transit system.
Shriver, former Santa Monica mayor and a nephew of the late President John F. Kennedy, stressed his work on homelessness and cleaning up Santa Monica Bay and also sees his entrepreneurial experience as key to managing the county and its $26 billion budget.
Together with Bono of the rock band U2, Shriver co-founded the nonprofits DATA, ONE and (RED) to fight poverty and disease in Africa.
He said his focus as supervisor would be on expanding transit options, job creation and water cleanup and conservation.
Kuehl had implied that Shriver, 60, is a lightweight, while Shriver positioned himself as an innovator to a stodgier Kuehl.