David Ryu and Nithya Raman

Incumbent councilman David Ryu and challenger Nithya Raman.

Challenger Nithya Raman is currently ahead of incumbent City Councilman David Ryu according to early results in today's race for Council District 4. 

Results as of 2:15 p.m. Wednesday stand at 52.38% for Raman and 47.62% for Ryu, with 107,532 votes counted. The 4th Council District includes Los Feliz, Griffith Park and a portion of Silver Lake. An unknown number of ballots still remaining to be tallied.

"This job, and my entire life, have been about serving the people of this city," Ryu said during an online election-night briefing. "No matter what happens in this election, I promise you that I will never stop serving my city and I will never stop fighting for what is right. This campaign has never been about me. It has been about us, and the city that we can build together."

Calls and emails from City News Service to the Raman campaign were not immediately returned.

Five years ago, Ryu became the first Korean-American ever elected to the L.A. City Council. He came in as a progressive outsider, pushing through a ban on political contributions from developers who have business before the city, and creating - by his estimate - nearly 600 units of homeless housing.

But facing Raman - who was endorsed by Sen. Bernie Sanders - Ryu now found himself out-flanked on the left. After he and Raman signed pledges not to accept any political donations from police unions, the L.A. Times noted that Ryu “is clearly running a different campaign than five years ago or even five months ago, when L.A.'s police union shelled out nearly $45,000 in independent spending to support him.”

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Raman came in with an activist background. She has a history of putting together organizations: Transparent Chennai, which worked with residents in the slums of India, and SELAH Neighborhood Homeless Coalition in Los Angeles. She is also Co-Chair of the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council’s Homelessness Committee, and was the first executive director of Time’s Up Entertainment, which advocated for equity and safety for women in the entertainment industry.

In the March primary, Ryu outspent Raman by more than 3 to 1. But Raman nonetheless forced a runoff. Ryu only managed to get just under 45% of the vote - with Raman coming in second at 41%.

In recent interviews with The Eastsider, both Ryu and Raman favored using alternative to police for certain kind of service calls, such as homeless encampments and mental health crises.

In the area of homelessness, Raman discussed some new approaches to the problem, while Ryu emphasized his experience at setting up supportive housing for the homeless.

In the area of City Hall corruption, both candidates talked about public campaign financing. Raman pointed out that the city's ethics commission needs funding, while Ryu touted his successful efforts on campaign contribution reform.

This story has been updated with a comment from David Ryu.

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