Update: Prang’s Margin Grows in L.A. County Assessor Race

UPDATE:  The latest numbers from the L.A. County Registrar’s Office show growth in West Hollywood City Councilmember Jeffrey Prang’s margin over Deputy District Attorney John Morris in the race for county Assessor.  As of 2:42 p.m. today, Prang has 50.8 percent of the vote, with Morris at 49.2.

That increase is a result of the tabulation in recent days of approximately 65,000 write-in, provisional and vote-by-mail ballots that were not counted on Tuesday, 45,000 of which ballots contained votes for the Assessor office.

Earlier results showed Prang with 50.52 percent versus 49.48 for Morris. While the percentage increase for Prang so far is modest, it is significant that Prang has won 56 percent of the vote on the recently counted ballots. That trend, if it continues through the count of an estimated 200,000 other untabulated ballots, means Prang will be the winner.

“I’m not quite prepared to declare victory, but the lead is very good for me,” Prang told WEHOville.

That new lead still is not sufficient for Prang to resign his City Council seat tomorrow. At Monday’s City Council meeting, at which his fellow Council members congratulated Prang on what seemed an all-but-certain victory, Prang announced his intention to resign by then so that his seat would be on the March 15 City Council election ballot.

jeffrey prang
Jeffrey Prang.

State law requires that a “special election,” which is what adding Prang’s seat to the ballot would be if he were to resign, must be called 114 days prior to the election date, which is March 3. Technically that deadline is Sunday, Nov. 9. But the law requires a 24-hour notice to the City Council of Prang’s resignation. That means the effective deadline is tomorrow. The Council had planned to hold a special session on Sunday in anticipation of the Saturday resignation but now has cancelled that.

If Prang does not resign, the City Council has two options: appoint someone to fill the two remaining years of his term or call a special election, likely in June.

A special election would cost the city as much as $150,000, an expense Prang told his fellow Council members on Monday that he hoped to keep the city from incurring by stepping down immediately after he won. Appointing a replacement would be difficult, given the divide between Councilmembers John Heilman and Abbe Land on one side and Mayor John D’Amico and Councilmember John Duran on the other.

If Prang’s seat is not on the March 3 ballot, several declared and prospective candidates may reassess whether or not to run. Those candidates have said privately that they don’t want to run against incumbents who they support. In running for the remaining two years of Prang’s term, they would not be competing with incumbents. Other candidates interested in Prang’s seat have said they saw it as the only viable option in a race where Council incumbents almost always win re-election.

Even if Prang were to gain a significant advantage over Morris before Saturday, there is the possibility that Morris will challenge the results. Prang has anticipated that, emailing supporters yesterday for donations. to say that “there are still provisional and absentee votes to be counted. We will have to wait until every last vote is counted but we are confident that we will prevail. Of course we have had to hire one of the best election lawyers in southern California to insure the integrity of the process. Unfortunately, these lawyer’s fees and costs were not anticipated in our campaign budget.”

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Rudolf Martin
Rudolf Martin
8 years ago

Chris Sanger might be right, there may not be a precedent in modern history of an elected representative putting his constituents first and taking as little as a 1% chance of being without the council seat that he had precious little time to devote to from day one due to full time fundraising for another office, and sparing his constituents the humiliation of spending $150.000.00 on another election that most people will ignore. Why can’t the divided council find a temp council member they can all live with, how about appointing a different go go dancer every month? Or Jeannie… Read more »

Lynn
Lynn
8 years ago

@Woody McBreairty & Chris: Perhaps un-evolved would be a more apt description. Whatever the outcome, Mr. Prang could very possibly be cooked. Although the candidate/city council member has talents and dedication, he seems permanently blown off course by questionable judgement which follows him around. His handlers had him constantly on the fundraising circuit to pay for their handling. Every email brought a new cringe factor and now this. The vote count could potentially be challenged by Mr. Morris, another expensive and time consuming ordeal. Mr. Prang has many admirable qualities but one could question his penchant for getting continually wrapped… Read more »

Chris Sanger
Chris Sanger
8 years ago

What is irrational Woody is that I suspect there is no precedent in the history of politics for someone in office in a tight, undeclared race to resign his post based on speculation. He was elected to this post by the voters, whether you agree with that or not. He has a responsibility to stay on. If he doesn’t win, it would just create havoc and confusion.

I have no problem calling it irrational. Cite me a precedent anywhere in the world and maybe I’d reconsider.

Woody McBreairty
Woody McBreairty
8 years ago

I most always appreciate reading the comments of others & try to be respectful. However there is always someone who thinks they are the last-word-authority on the thoughts & opinions of everyone else. And they call those with whom they disagree, ego driven & irrational. They must be looking in the mirror. What is “irrational” is the suggestion that a politician has the right to hold a city hostage while he decides if his career change is going to work out for him or not. What’s best for the city & the people is the first consideration of “rational” thinkers,… Read more »

Chris Sanger
Chris Sanger
8 years ago

It’s not his ego and sense of entitlement LB – where does that come from? It’s because he hasn’t won the race yet. Why in the world should he resign prematurely? I know haters gotta hate, that’s how they roll, but there is zero reason he should resign prematurely. I think those who post irrational ones who are way too absorbed in themselves and their obsessive world of City Council hating. Thx Hank for the update on the situation, and Adam for his info about the now cancelled plans. It is true that the council will need to appoint someone… Read more »

LB
LB
8 years ago

Jeff Prang won’t step down before tomorrow’s deadline. His ego and sense of entitlement will not allow it. The probable good news is WeHo will finally lose this self-absorbed individual. The bad news is that LA County will learn and have to endure his lack of leadership, people skills and qualifications. WeHo deserves better. LA County deserves better.

Woody McBreairty
Woody McBreairty
8 years ago

I understand all points, however I think it is unfortunate to ignore the most qualified candidate & cast your vote for the most unqualified candidate just to get him out of Dodge. I vote based on principle. I did not vote for Prang for Assessor nor have I ever voted for him for City Council because I think he is eminently unqualified for either. I think he has always been a hanger on. It is very telling that after tauting all his high profile “endorsements”, Prang is still asking for donations after the election to hopefully help him squeak through.… Read more »

Chris Sanger
Chris Sanger
8 years ago

Other than going with my oft-repeated suggestion (appreciate that Mike picked it up) that candidates in the March 14 election pledge to name the 4th place finisher to the 2 year slot, the other thing possible is for Prang to resign with the understanding that he be immediately reappointed should he not win. There is likely a gap between when the vacancy occurs and when the council authorizes a special election so that we’d know better in the interim. The idea that he resign otherwise not knowing what the outcome is for me is utter nonsense. No sane responsible elected… Read more »

Adam
Adam
8 years ago
Reply to  Chris Sanger

The “gap between when the vacancy occurs and when the council authorizes a special election” is about 24 hours. The Council has called a meeting to discuss this for Sunday morning at 9 a.m.

Lynn
Lynn
8 years ago

A dilemma all around. I find Jeff Prang an affable person, always open to dialogue but learned that he could not be relied upon for leadership or backbone. Each of his jobs outside of City Council could be described as patronage positions. Although Mr. Morris seems eminently more qualified to clean up the mess at the assessor’s office, I voted for Prang because I felt his time was up in WEHO. Now he wants to have a foot in each lane and is looking for a safety net, Suggestion: Please resign, take a leap of faith and if the election… Read more »

Brad
Brad
8 years ago

“It’s an opportunity to show what they call leadership.”

Well said, Rudolf.

SOS
SOS
8 years ago

Why not resign then if he doesn’t win, run for his seat again?

Adam
Adam
8 years ago

Though Mike’s idea is novel, and the concept is right, I doubt it’d be legal. State law requires the Council to act on the resignation within a prescribed period of time. Therefore, they have to appoint someone by a certain date or call a special election. If the resignation comes later in November, the law will have required the Council to act on replacing Mr. Prang long before the election happens in March. It isn’t as simple as an agreement to appoint the 4th place winner. There will have to be a separate election to fill the 2 years remaining… Read more »

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