LOS ANGELES, Calif. — Showdowns in three highly contested Los Angeles City Council races will be decided today, while seven candidates will compete in a special election to fill a vacant San Fernando Valley-area seat.

In the 10 weeks since the March 5 primary, outside groups mostly representing labor unions have spent more than $1.7 million to influence three runoff races in which candidates in the south Los Angeles, eastside and Hollywood areas are battling for seats on the 15-member City Council.

Public Works Commissioner John Choi is up against Mitch O’Farrell, a one-time field deputy for mayoral candidate Eric Garcetti, in the race for the 13th District seat. The race has proven acrimonious, with the campaigns exchanging accusations of voter fraud.

In the 1st District, voters will decide between former Assemblyman Gil Cedillo and Jose Gardea, the chief of staff for termed-out Councilman Ed Reyes, to represent an area that includes northeast Los Angeles, Chinatown, Pico Union and MacArthur Park.

State Sen. Curren Price, D-Los Angeles, and Ana Cubas, former chief of staff for Councilman Jose Huizar, are vying for the 9th District seat representing South Los Angeles. Independent expenditure groups poured upward of $600,000 into Price’s campaign.

The victors in today’s election will be part of a slate of six new faces that will join the City Council on July 1. At least two of those six will be making the leap from state to city elected office. Assemblyman Bob Blumenfield, D-Van Nuys, and Assemblyman Felipe Fuentes, D-Arleta, claimed two of the seats during the primary, with Cedillo and Price looking to join them on the road from Sacramento to Los Angeles City Hall.

Gardea and Cubas could join Councilman-elect Mike Bonin as chiefs of staffs making the jump from administrative to political positions. Bonin is chief of staff for outgoing Councilman Bill Rosendahl.

In the San Fernando Valley-area’s 6th District, an election could determine who will finish the un-expired term of Tony Cardenas, who was elected to Congress in November — giving the 15-member council a seventh new face.

Los Angeles Unified School District board member Nury Martinez and former Assemblywoman Cindy Montanez have each spent more than six figures to gain voters’ attention, dwarfing spending by the rest of a field that includes businessman J. Roy Garcia, student Walter Escobar, government adviser Derek
Waleko and businessman Richard Valdez. A write-in candidate, screenwriter Don Stroncak, is also campaigning for votes.

If none of the candidates in the 6th District race receives more than 50 percent of the vote, the top two vote-getters will compete in a July 23 runoff.