Inside CD-11 2022: ‘Moderate Middle’ Could Be the Deciding Factor in Darling/Park Contest for LA City Council!

The Allison Holdorff-Polhill, Mike Newhouse vote total combines for 10,500 votes or nearly 16% of the vote up for grabs come this November Runoff

Column by Nick Antonicello

The neighborhood of Venice will be represented on the Los Angeles City Council come 2023. 

But that choice of representation seems to be polar opposite as the liberal progressive Erin Darling, and the right-of-center, law and order hopeful Traci Park are locked in a battle as to who can best attract that “moderate middle” where most voters are parked politically speaking. 

With six candidates eliminated, that collective vote total represented almost 25,000, more than either Darling or Park in the current vote total (6/30/22). 

In Greg Good, who received 6,562 votes for a third-place finish, many observers agree that a lion’s share of that vote will go to Darling, who best reflects the positions of the Good vote. If that’s the case, Darling will have a fairly comfortable lead unless Park can dig into the “moderate middle,” and specifically mine for voters that supported Allison Holdorff-Polhill and her 5,802 supporters. 

One would think that alley of support would be a natural for Park, the only other woman in the race; but Park is clearly to the right of every candidate in the race with the exception of US veteran Mat Smith, who ran as an optimistic and unabashed conservative and the only Republican in the race on June 7th

One would assume those votes could naturally shift to Park, as the thousand or so votes of  the liberal Soni Lloyd seem tailor-made for Erin Darling. 

With that said, only VNC President James Murez has indicated his preference for Park, but nothing official has been announced to date. 

So that leaves Mike Newhouse, a fellow neighbor of Park and his 4,698 supporters as where those votes could land come November.

When looking at that moderate/middle vote it really represents some 10,500 votes combined or 15.87% of the overall vote, more than enough to choose who will succeed Mike Bonin come the fall campaign. 

So with two lawyers from Venice lowering the temperature politically speaking since the June 7th Primary, sources tell us that lips are sealed and that neither candidate to date has made any inroads with any of the six who did not get their ticket punched for the November general election. 

Calls have been made, but little has changed a very competitive race where literally every vote will make the difference given the closeness of the  June 7 results. 

It can be said there will be a “kingmaker” of sorts should those votes in the center are delivered to the local liberal in Darling or the populist Park, who seems to be pivoting to more national discussions like the overturning of the landmark Roe v. Wade, where she has made statements critical of the right-of-center, conservative majority. And unlike Park, Darling is an unabashed, no questions asked, pro-choice Democrat and a more focused and reliable progressive within the contest that has been embraced by that political community with the support of the outgoing incumbent, Mike Bonin. 

And with Darling already the choice of the Los Angeles Times, his consolidation of the moderate, liberal-leaning voters of others makes him a prohibitive front-runner as we enter the November phase of the race. 

And other new-found issues not yet discussed could further complicate the race and many believe the support of tenants who make-up a huge and organized voter bloc could be problematic for Park since she seems to be the property owner’s favorite. 

With lots of campaign still to be conducted, the race is clearly wide-open and highly competitive as we enter the dog days of summer. 

But things are different this time when candidates have been defined in many ways moving forward. 

In 2013, the LA Times described then-newcomer Mike Bonin in the following manner: 

“He (Bonin) is a student of the district, well-versed on issues of traffic, homelessness and development. Bonin seems ready and able to take the politicking skills he learned from his bosses (Ruth Galanter, Jane Harman & Bill Rosendahl) and use them well as – if not better than –they did.” 

Stay tuned, this has all the makings of a photo finish come election day. 

Nick Antonicello is a longtime Venetian and is covering the race to succeed Mike Bonin as the new council member in CD-11 and that impact on the neighborhood of Venice. He can be reached via e-mail at nantoni@mindspring.com

in Opinion
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