Challenger unseats Ryu in Council District 4 race

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Wave Wire Services

LOS ANGELES — Challenger Nithya Raman has built on her lead and has apparently defeated incumbent David Ryu for the Los Angeles City Council’s District 4 seat.

While there are an unknown number of ballots still remaining to be tallied, Raman had 52.7% of the vote, with more than 6,600 votes separating the pair, according to numbers published by the Los Angeles RegistrarRecorder/County Clerk’s office Nov. 9.

This is a moment of hope,” Raman said in a prepared statement. “While we are still waiting on the full results, there is absolutely no doubt that progress won in Los Angeles [Nov. 3]. The incredible victories by the movements for radical, carceral, environmental and housing justice will reverberate throughout our city for years to come.”

Raman is a homeless advocate and former executive director of Time’s Up Entertainment, a nonprofit that works against sexual harassment and abuse in the workforce.

Ryu has championed himself as a reformist on the council and pushed for more transparency in government. He touted his efforts to bring A Bridge Home transitional housing projects to his district. He also said he wants to prioritize the city’s budget, which has been hampered by COVID-19, to continue to deliver the most critical city services.

This job, and my entire life, have been about serving the people of this city,” Ryu said during an online election-night briefing. “No matter what happens in this election, I promise you that I will never stop serving my city and I will never stop fighting for what is right. This campaign has never been about me. It has been about us, and the city that we can build together.”

Raman has been working with nonprofit organizations, and said she would work to help reduce the city’s homeless population by protecting tenants and lowering rents.

On policing, Raman said she wants to remove armed officers from situations in which they aren’t needed, while maintaining the ability to protect people against violence.

That stance is similar to Ryu’s, though the two have clashed over whose proposal would be better.

Both candidates secured high-profile endorsements. Vermont Democratic Sen. Bernie Sanders endorsed Raman and Democratic Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi endorsed Ryu.

Raman ran a star-studded campaign, appearing on her social media platforms with endorsements from celebrities such as Natalie Portman, Adam Scott and hosting events with comedian Hannibal Buress.

In the primary, Ryu was forced into the runoff with Raman, as he finished with 44.7% of the vote to Raman’s 41.1% in the district that includes the Hollywood Hills and South San Fernando Valley.

Born in Kerala, India, Raman came to this country with her parents when she was 6. She lives in Silver Lake with her husband and two children.

Ryu is the first incumbent City Councilman to be defeated for reelection since 2002 when Antonio Villaraigosa defeated Nick Pacheco in the 14th District. He was elected to the City Council in 2015, defeating Carolyn Ramsay in a runoff election to replace Tom LaBonge, who had to step down due to term limits.