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Residents join incumbent Jose Huizar for a victory party at Mora Salesian High School. Photos by Art Torres for Boyle Heights Beat.

In a surprise easy win, incumbent Councilman Jose Huizar fended off challengers for his city council seat in District 14, avoiding a May runoff with 65.75% of the votes.

The councilman was braced for a tough race when former L.A. County Supervisor Gloria Molina announced she would enter the race last fall and many expected a runoff between the two Eastside political veterans.

Molina, who was the first Latina elected to both the Board of Supervisors and the state legislature, received 24% of votes. Social worker Nadine Diaz received 4.4% of the votes, 3.6% went to activist Mario Chavez, while political consultant John O’Neil got 2.3%.

Huizar will return for his third and final term representing the district which includes Boyle Heights, Eagle Rock, El Sereno, Highland Park and downtown Los Angeles.

Charter Amendments 1 and 2, aimed at increasing voter participation by aligning elections with federal and state elections, both passed with more than 75% of voters agreeing.

“This is a great win for the people of Los Angeles,” said campaign co-chairman and director of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at USC Don Schnur, in a released statement. The former chairman of the California Fair Political Practices Commission said, “Tonight they win back their elections from special interests who have controlled local politics for too long.”

The win means voters will now cast ballots in mayoral, city council and school board races in even-numbered rather than odd-numbered years, beginning in 2020. The shift gives city and school board officials elected in 2015 and 2017, an extra 18 months in office, and a 5  ½ year term rather than a 4-year term.

Voters also cast ballots on a number of Community College Board of Trustees seats, which are decided on highest number of votes and not percentages. The winners include: Andrea Hoffman, Seat 1; Sydney Kamlager, Seat 3; Scott Svorkin, Seat 5; and Mike Fong, Seat 7.

In Tuesday’s election, voter turnout was estimated at only 8.6%, the lowest in more than a decade.

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