Lujan, Storing leading in La Puente council race

More early reporting, this time out of La Puente:

In early election returns Tuesday night, two incumbents were leading against two challengers in the race for a pair of open City Council seats.

Mayor Louie Lujan and Councilwoman Lola Storing, both seeking third terms, appeared to be winning against former City Councilwoman Renee Chavez and businessman David Argudo, a newcomer to local politics.

Storing could not be reached for comment Tuesday night.

“I’m happy at the possibility of returning to the council for another four years,” Lujan said.

“I think all the candidates worked really hard,” he said. “We all had individual messages but for the most part, I don’t anticipate this being a change election.”

Lujan is currently under investigation by the District Attorney’s Office over alleged campaign finance violations. He said what role, if any, the investigation played in the campaign was always up to voters.

Lujan is also mulling a run for state Assembly and said if re-elected to the council, he would continue to explore that option.

Argudo, co-owner of JDL Financial in La Puente, ran for City Council in 2007 but lost to Councilman John Solis by just 27 votes. He said he decided to run again to bring change to the council.

Chavez also ran for council in 2007 but as an incumbent. She lost, finishing 94 votes behind Solis.

She also ran unsuccessfully on the Democratic ticket for the 57th Assembly District seat in 2006. At the time, she was trying to fill the seat being vacated by her husband, Ed Chavez, who was being termed out.

Both Argudo and Chavez did not return calls seeking comment.

There are 14,098 registered voters in La Puente.

Lozano, Rubio take early leads in Baldwin Park mayor, council races

Some early reporting from the Baldwin Park race:

Incumbent Manuel Lozano led in early election returns Tuesday night against former Councilman Ricardo Pacheco in the race for mayor.

Meanwhile, in the City Council election, City Clerk Susan Rubio appeared to headed toward an upset win over incumbent Anthony Bejarano, according to early voting results.

“I’m definitely happy, but these are very preliminary,” Lozano said. “Obviously, we have to wait and see what transpires when all precincts report.”

If elected, this will mark Lozano’s sixth term as mayor. He was first elected in 1999 and ran unopposed in 2007. There are no term limits in Baldwin Park.

Lozano said he was not concerned about where the figures would fall for write-in candidate Greg Tuttle because, “he’s not on the ballot and he’s not a resident.”

Figures for Tuttle were not available Tuesday night. His nomination papers were initially rejected by the City Clerk because he was not registered to vote in Baldwin Park at the time.

He later qualified as a write-in candidate, although his name did not appear on ballot information mailed to voters.

Tuttle, who owns Tuttle’s Parts Exchange on Ramona Boulevard, has been a vocal critic of the City Council and was a strong opponent of the city’s failed downtown development project with developer Bob Bisno.

Although they were running against one another, Tuttle still supported Councilman Pacheco in the mayor’s race. Pacheco’s current term doesn’t expire until 2011. Because he hasn’t relinquished his seat, Pacheco will continue to serve on the council if he loses the mayor’s race.

In the City Council race, Rubio and Garcia took an early lead against incumbent Anthony Bejarano and candidates Cruz Baca Sembello and Henry Huang, respectively.

“I’m not focusing on Anthony or anybody else right now, I just really want to speak for people who do not have a voice,” Rubio said. “I’m super excited about the possibility of serving the people of Baldwin Park.”

Despite their early leads, Rubio and Garcia cautioned against calling the race before ballots were counted.

“It’s early … right now,” Garcia said. “We always think (absentees) are kind of a mixed bag.”

Garcia — who was “optimistic about her candidacy — said it appeared that more voters had turned out for this election than in years past. She believed that larger turnout would help her in the race.

As for the city clerk’s seat, Christina Berumen led over Alejandra Avila and Brandie Rivera Woods, respectively.

City Treasurer Maria Contreras ran unopposed for her seat.

Have you voted yet?

And what’s you’re experience been like so far?

We’ve already gotten a lot of calls today about polling drama in La Puente, where school officials are accusing Bassett Unified school board candidate Art Sandoval of violating campaign laws. The sheriff’s deputies have been called out to several polling places, and deputies were even stationed at Van Wig Elementary School.

What’s voting been like for all of you?