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Emma Sharif leads Compton mayor’s race

Mayor Aja Brown leaving office after eight years

John W. Davis | OW Reporter | 6/2/2021, 5:19 p.m.
Emma Sharif is leading the mayoral election in Compton...
Emma Sharif is running for Mayor of Compton. City of Compton

Emma Sharif is leading the mayoral election in Compton, according to the latest election results from the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk. Compton’s General Municipal Election was held on Tuesday, June 1. The next ballot counting update will be Friday, June 4.

As mayor, Sharif has pledged to work with everybody and show the same concern for all constituents, regardless of ethnic background. Sharif is a 30-year resident of Compton. Before being elected to represent the 4th District of the Compton City Council in 2015. Before that, she served as a Compton Unified School District Board Member.

As of the June 1 tally, Sharif received 3,218 votes (54 percent). Her opponent Christian Reynaga, who was endorsed by outgoing Mayor Aja Brown, received 2,734 votes (46 percent).

Meanwhile, the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk (RR/CC) reported a preliminary estimate of 2,688 outstanding ballots to be processed during the Official Election Canvass period.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the City of Compton has approximately 96,000 residents, more than two-thirds of whom are Hispanic.

However, for decades, the Mayor of Compton has been an African-American. But with changing demographics, Compton was on the verge of history.

Meanwhile, voter turnout is often a cause for concern in non-presidential elections, particularly in Compton.

Out of the 48,387 registered voters, 6,150 votes were counted as of June 1, calculating voter turnout at a mere 12.7 percent. Because of the pandemic, 93 percent of votes were cast via mail-in ballots.

Any outstanding vote by mail ballots that are postmarked by election day and received by Friday, June 4 will be counted and added to the official election results.

Mayor Brown became the youngest mayor in the history of Compton when she was elected at the age of 31 in 2013. When Brown announced she was not seeking re-election after eight years in office, a new leader was needed to usher Compton out of the pandemic.

After a primary election on April 20, the run-off election came down to two candidates. Mayor Brown said she was proud to endorse Reynaga, a local realtor and entrepreneur, who is currently serving as the vice-chair of the Compton Taxpayer Committee and the city’s community relations commission.

Reynaga’s political opponent was Councilwoman Sharif. Our Weekly’s Editorial Staff endorsed Councilwoman Sharif for Mayor, who has represented the 4th District on Compton city council since 2015.

Sharif summarized her vision for Compton in five key areas: tackling homelessness, finishing street repairs, economic development through new businesses, increasing funding to expand senior citizen programs, and increasing public safety by improving the city’s relationship with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

A central point of political contention surrounds the city’s current ban on marijuana dispensaries, which is supported by Sharif and many of Compton’s senior citizen residents. Sharif’s vision for the recruitment of businesses does not include marijuana dispensaries and she is expected to enforce the city’s current ban on that particular industry.

Several other municipal races were also contested in addition to the mayor’s race.

As of June 1, in the District 2 City Council race, Andre “Hub City Dre” Spicer holds a narrow lead over incumbent Isaac Galvan. Spicer has received 588 votes (50.87 percent), compared to 568 votes (49.13 percent) for Galvan.

In the District 3 City Council race, Jonathan Bowers is leading against incumbent Tana L. McCoy. Bowers has garnered 57 percent of votes, compared to 43 percent for McCoy.

Brandon Mims is leading the City Treasurer race against Satra Zurita. Mims has garnered approximately 56 percent of votes, compared to 44 percent for Zurita.

City Attorney Damon Brown and City Clerk Alita Godwin previously won their races in the primary election.

The City of Compton General Municipal Election is expected to be certified on Monday, June 14.