LOS ANGELES — California state Assemblyman Warren Furutani (D-Long Beach) came in second in a crowded field of 11 candidates on Nov. 8, and is headed for a Jan. 17 runoff against Los Angeles Police Officer Joe Buscaino, the top vote-getter in the special election to fill out the term of former Los Angeles City Councilwoman Janice Hahn.
With all of the precincts counted in the Nov. 8 special election, unofficial results show that Buscaino finished with 29.1 percent of the votes, followed by Furutani with 22.3 percent, according to the Los Angeles Office of the City Clerk.
Hahn vacated her seat when she was elected to Congress in a July special election, giving candidates just three months to wage their respective campaigns.
If he wins the 15th City Council District seat — which covers San Pedro, Wilmington, Harbor Gateway, Harbor City and Watts — Furutani will become the first Japanese American and only second Asian American to hold a City Council seat in the state’s largest city since Mike Woo stepped down as Councilmember in 1993.
“What an incredible night!” Furutani said in an e-mail message to his supporters. “We couldn’t have done it without your help. Almost 1,000 people donated to our campaign and hundreds of volunteers worked tirelessly to call voters and walk door-to-door.”
According to the Los Angeles Times, Furutani, a former Los Angeles Unified school board and Los Angeles Community College board member who was endorsed by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, led candidates in spending with $313,927, while Buscaino spent $264,380.
While Furutani, 67, is a seasoned veteran politician, Buscaino, 37, has never run for political office before.
Buscaino also thanked his supporters on his Website. “I look forward to running a positive, grassroots campaign into January,” he stated.
Whoever wins the runoff election in January will finish out the remainder of Hahn’s council term. They will then be eligible to run for a full, four-year term in 2013.
The Nichi Bei Weekly contributed to this report.