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Jewish Journal

Koretz claims win, but it ain’t over til it’s over

by  Tom Tugend

May 28, 2009 | 2:55 am

Paul Koretz appears to have won the 5th district city council seat, but according to the county registrar, it’s not over til it’s over.
On Tuesday evening, one week after the election, the registrar’s office announced that Koretz had more than doubled his lead over David “Ty” Vahedi, from 335 votes on May 19 to 702 votes on the updated May 26 count.
On the basis of the growing lead, Koretz e-mailed his supporters that he had won the tight race by 50.98 percent to 49.02 percent.
At that point, Koretz said, that only 100 more ballots were still to be counted. However, the registrar clarified that actually 500-1,000 ballots remained uncounted, and that an official winner might not be declared until June 15.
Apparently, Koretz’ figure of 100 referred only to damaged ballots, and didn’t include uncounted provisional and other ballots.
Nevertheless, the odds strongly favor Koretz, who analyzed his strengths and weaknesses in the race in an interview with The Journal.
On the pro-side, Koretz said, was the backing of such political heavyweights as Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky and Congressman Henry Waxman, as well as by labor unions and small business associations. Koretz’ own Jewish background and involvement in the community were obvious advantages in the heavily Jewish district.
What made the race so tight, however, was the district’s tradition of electing fresh and “outsider” candidates, and Vahedi’s energetic campaign had some success in casting Koretz as the political insider.
Added to that, Koretz said, were the highly unpopular tax measures on the same ballot and general disgust with the legislature, which might have spilled over into antagonism against Koretz as a former state assemblyman.
By contrast, in the city attorney’s race, there was no doubt about the come-from-behind victory of Carmen “Nuch” Trutanich, who defeated outgoing City Councilman Jack Weiss by more than 11 percentage points.
Weiss did not respond directly to requests for comments, but his spokeswoman, Lisa Hansen, e-mailed the following statement.
“ Councilman Jack Weiss is grateful for the friendship and support of so many people in the Jewish community and throughout the city over the last eight years and he wishes Paul Koretz and everyone in city government the best in the years to come.”
Posted by Tom Tugend

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