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UPDATE: Sham defeats Sunada in Alhambra City Council race by 369 votes

UPDATED 11.24.14:

Incumbent Stephen Sham has defeated challenger Eric Sunada in the Alhambra City Council race. Sham faced off against Sunada on Nov. 4 to represent Alhambra's 1st District and won by 369 votes, according to the sixth and final ballot update from the Los Angeles County Registrar.

A total of 10,141 people voted in the Alhambra City Council election, with 51.8 percent of the votes going to Sham and 48.2 percent of the votes going to Sunada.

Despite his defeat in the race, Sunada said he will consider the campaign a victory. "No matter the vote count, I feel that we won. We won because we stayed true to our issues and continued to reach out and inform the people, while the opposition focused more on stemming our efforts," Sunada said Monday. "We won because we were limited only by time, and as a result I’m confident change will happen. It’s got to when you have the incumbents providing no substantive discussion for the city’s future. It’s got to change because their lack of vision is serving only to further stratify our community at a time when we should be unifying it."

Nov. 24 tally | County of Los Angeles Registrar/ Recorder

UPDATED 11.18.14:

Stephen Sham leads Eric Sunada by 358 votes in the race to represent Alhambra's 1st District in City Council, according to the fourth ballot update from the Los Angeles County Registrar. The Tuesday tally includes 249 additional Alhambra City Council ballots since the last update on Nov. 14.

The Registrar is still counting mail-in, absentee, and write-in ballots and will post its next update on Friday, Nov. 21.

Nov. 18 tally | County of Los Angeles Registrar/ Recorder

UPDATED 11.14.14:

Stephen Sham leads Eric Sunada by 331 votes in the race for Alhambra City Council, according to the third ballot counting update from the Los Angeles County Registrar. Incumbent candidate Sham faced off against Sunada in the Nov. 4 election to represent Alhambra's 1st District.

Friday's update included an additional 535 ballots in the Alhambra City Council tally since the Registrar's second update on Nov. 10, with 272 going to Sham and 263 going to Sunada. The Registrar is still counting mail-in, absentee, and write-in ballots and will post its next update on Tuesday, Nov. 18.

Nov. 14 tally | County of Los Angeles Registrar/ Recorder

UPDATED 11.10.14 at 4:39 p.m.:

Incumbent candidate Stephen Sham leads challenger Eric Sunada by 322 votes in the Alhambra City Council race to represent the city's 1st District, according to a Nov. 10 update from the Los Angeles County Registrar. The Registrar is still counting outstanding mail-in, absentee, and write-in ballots and will post its next update on Friday.

Sham took to Facebook to thank voters after the Registrar's Nov. 7 tally. "Updated vote count from the election," he posted Saturday on his campaign Facebook page, along with a picture of the updated results. "Thank you everyone once again for all of your support!"

Sunada also thanked his supporters in a Monday email to Alhambra Source. "I’m just so proud of the team and the type of campaign that we ran. It was grassroots all the way," he said. "Since the election, we continue to get volunteers emailing us to ask how they can help going forward. Win or lose, we’re going to press forward and we will get stronger every day."

Nov. 10 tally | County of Los Angeles Registrar/ Recorder

UPDATED 11.10.14 at 10:51 a.m.:

Stephen Sham leads Eric Sunada by 277 votes in the race for Alhambra City Council's 1st District seat, according to a Nov. 7 update from the Los Angeles County Registrar. The Registrar is still counting mail-in, absentee, and write-in ballots. The next scheduled update is Monday at 1 p.m. 

The Registrar has a 28-day period to tally and certify votes. The L.A. County Board of Supervisors will declare the results official on Dec. 2, according to the Registrar.

Nov. 7 tally | County of Los Angeles Registrar/ Recorder

PUBLISHED 11.05.14:

The two candidates for Alhambra City Council are divided by just 2 percentage points, with most votes counted. Incumbent candidate Stephen Sham is leading in Tuesday's City Council election to represent Alhambra's 1st District, with 4,085 votes. Sham faced off against Jet Propulsion Laboratory engineer Eric Sunada, who received 3,909 votes. The Los Angeles County Registrar is still counting mail-in, absentee, and write-in votes.

County of Los Angeles Registrar/ Recorder

Sham declined to comment.

Sunada said that if he is defeated, it will not deter his plans to move forward in local politics. “Our volunteers are some of the most talented people I know; always up on the issues and always working to solve them,” Sunada said Tuesday night during his election party. "We are not going to stop here."

Despite the close results, Sham's campaign received more than $100,000 more in contributions than Sunada. The incumbent received $136,916 in contributions, compared to $20,644 for Sunada. Sham's major contributions came from business owners in Alhambra and other Southern California cities, including $5,000 from Wei Zhang, the president of Ocean Wayne Media in West Covina, $5,000 from TAG-2 Medical Investment Group in Alhambra, and $5,000 from St. Clair International, LLC in Newport Beach.

Sunada's major contributions came from residents, including $1,200 from Alhambra resident Sabrina Peck, $1,150 from Pasadena resident and fellow Jet Propulsion Laboratory engineer Gaj Birur, and $1,000 from Cerritos resident Anne Sunada.

In other races to represent Alhambra, U.S. Representative Judy Chu beat challenger Jack Orswell to represent the 27th Congressional Congressional District, which includes the San Gabriel Valley. Chu received 60.68 percent of the votes, or 54,605 votes, while Orswell received 39.32 percent, or 35,386 votes.

In the race to represent State Assembly District 49—which includes Alhambra and much of the west San Gabriel Valley—incumbent candidate Ed Chau beat out Esthela Torres Siegrist with 60.79 percent of the votes, or 25,259 votes. Siegrist received 16,295 votes, 39.21 percent of the total.

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7 thoughts on “UPDATE: Sham defeats Sunada in Alhambra City Council race by 369 votes”

  1. Hmmm. Makes one wonder why Sham received so much money and support by OUTSIDE INTERESTS THAT DO NOT LIVE IN ALHAMBRA (as reported in other news outlets). Why is it so necessary to spend so much money from Outside SECRET INTERESTS in a council race with not even one public debate so we, the voters could decide who was the better candidate.Are we now stuck with BIG MONEY OUTSIDE INTERESTS determining the future of the city? What a shame on us,when two council representatives are automatically put into office because of the lack of other candidates, and when BIG MONEY OUTSIDE INTERESTS determine another candidate. But perhaps people are unwilling to run for city council when the incumbents use DIRTY POLITICS, SCARE TACTICS like another councilperson did several years ago by scaring voters that one candidate would “bring in Indian Casinos if he he (the candidate) was elected and voters fell for that BIG LIE! Makes one wonder why council people fight so hard with large amounts of money and scare tactics to be in the city council, might it be that if they stay in as council for three terms, they and all their families will receive FULL MEDICAL HEALTH INSURANCE PAID BY THE CITY?But for Sunada who had a grass-root campaign with less money than Sham I hope wakes up our “1950” council that perhaps they need to rethink over development in the city and REALLY represent us, Alhambra VOTING RESIDENTS (wishful thinking).

  2. I agree with Mr. Montes de Oca in that despite losing the run, Sunada achieved much more in the sense his views resonated a strong message to residents without needing to commercialize and pay for influence. Ultimately I think the support from businesses and business workers (who will benefit from the City Council’s plan to subsidize them for growth) shaped the tide of this election. While there was a very low voter turnout, I feel confident that every resident benefiting from business and investor subsidization made a valid effort to vote.

  3. How many absentee votes are outstanding, and when are they expected to be counted?

    1. Hi Jen, according to a Nov. 5 press release from the L.A. County Registrar's office, the initial estimate of outstanding ballots to be processed is 114,229 provisional ballots, 119,862 vote-by-mail ballots received at the polls, and 10,656 vote-by-mail ballots received via USPS. The Registrar has a 28-day period to certify results, with the first update scheduled for Friday.

      You can find out more here.

      EDIT: Just to clarify, these numbers are for the county. Thanks for your question!

  4. I agree with Jay P. Things will and are going to change in this city. We want our city back and we are going to get it back. This movement is not going to phase or die out.

  5. Boy, this really does show that Alhambrans are “very happy” (a Messina quote) with the status quo.

    This is only the beginning. The people are well aware of the shady dealings and influence of dark money that’s been plaguing city hall for decades. No amount of cash infusion from developers, investors, and Old Alhambra Money to buy politicians and their endorsements is going to stop We the People from cleaning up our city.

  6. Mr. Montes de Oca

    Wow. Amazing that Mr. Sunada had such a great showing with such limited funds. Mr. Sham send out around 10 mailers, had a huge banner on Main and Garfield and money from big developers around town.

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