Councilor Aurelio Matucci clung to the lead in the race for the first councilor of Torrance District 5 on Tuesday, June 21, beating challenger Jean Adelsman by 12 votes.
The Los Angeles County Recorder released its fourth post-election update Tuesday afternoon, which showed Matucci retaining his narrow lead in the race, which was marked by a free-ranging councilman and Adelsman jumping over each other.
Matucci initially edged out Adelsman on Friday after the latter took the lead on June 14.
The two candidates compete to represent district 5 on the city council as Torrance completes the transition from general to district elections.
District 5, located in the westernmost part of Torrance, has a population of approximately 23,000 and includes South High School, Torrance Beach, Sea-Aire Golf Course, and Hillside Overlay.
On Tuesday, Matucci slightly increased his lead from eight to 12 votes.
As of Tuesday, Matucci had 3,634 votes to Adelsman’s 3,622. Proportionately, they were almost equal: Matucci had 50.08% against 49.92%.
California does not have an automatic recount process, so the runner-up candidate will have to request a new count.
Adelsman is a retired editor and college professor who served on the board of the Torrance Cultural Arts Foundation for nearly 25 years. Matucci is a broker and owner of Mattucci Real Estate.
For Adelsman, the biggest problem facing the city is its finances.
The next city council, Adelsman said during the campaign, should overhaul the budgeting process. The city should start from scratch each year and budget to reflect actual revenues, creating a zero-based budgeting process, she said.
Matucci said that while the budget is important, it is much easier to resolve than other issues such as public safety.
Matucci also said he fully supports public safety and believes it is underfunded. He would not support cutting off funding for the department in order to divert money to social programs.
It is not known how many ballots remain to be counted in the Fifth District, but this is likely the smallest number.
As of Tuesday, 13,790 ballots remained in the county.
The next update will be released on Friday, June 24th.
Here’s where other Torrance races – and one close Gardena race – stood after Tuesday’s update.
Torrance measure SST: The half cent sales tax increase will pass and 54.96% will support it after the latest update. The tax increase will give city governments an extra cushion to fund public safety initiatives.
Mayor of Torrance: Councilman George Chen, who will be Torrance’s next mayor – who has already received a phone call from opponent Cliff Numark to congratulate him on his victory – saw his leadership unchanged on Tuesday. Chen had 54.27% against Numark’s 45.73%. In total, Chen had 18,180 votes, while former council member Numark had 15,322.
Treasurer of Torrance: Former council member Tim Goodrich will be the next treasurer as he leads current council member Mike Griffiths 29.45% to 23.94%; As of Tuesday, Goodrich had 9,153 votes compared to Griffiths’ 7,442. The other three candidates, including incumbent treasurer Dana Cortez, fell further behind.
Torrance District 1: Small business owner John Kaji will represent the northernmost part of the city. After Tuesday’s update, he still had about 45% of the vote, more than double that of his nearest competitor, Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Dave Siegelbaum, whose percentage was about 21%.
Torrance District 3: Honda Financial Analyst Asam Sheikh will represent the Third District as he consistently outperforms Lauren Cotner. Sheikh had 59.01% to Cotner’s 40.99% as of Tuesday.
Gardena City Council: The fight for the second of two seats on the Gardena city council is still intense. Councilman Ron Tanaka is almost certain to keep his seat, with 40.62% of the vote as of Tuesday. But after the latest update, newcomer Wanda Love and board member Art Kaskanian are still narrowly separated from second and last place on the board. Lav had 30.28% against Kaskanyan’s 29.10% – they were separated by 147 votes. On Tuesday, Love’s lead increased by seven votes.
Daniella Segura contributed to this report.