Irvine City Councilman Larry Agran’s grip on Irvine may have come to an end Tuesday night, with a new Republican majority set to take office along with a new mayor.
City Councilman Steven Choi bested Agran for the mayor’s office, garnering 45.5 percent of the ballots cast.
Meanwhile, former Republican Councilwoman Christina Shea came back to win a seat after being termed out in 2010, giving Republicans a majority on council for the first time in 15 years.
Agran declined comment on the results earlier in the night, saying he would await final numbers before conceding.
Others didn’t wait as long.
“It’s a big deal to return Republican control to one of Orange County’s biggest cities,” said Jon Fleischman, publisher of the conservative statewide Flash Report and a major player in the mayoral race. Fleischman is also a member of the Voice of OC Community Editorial Board.
Fleischman was connected to a $200,000 independent expenditure campaign originating from a secretive East Coast nonprofit that was influential in the race.
“That PAC helped out a lot,” said City Councilman Jeff Lalloway, adding, “which I know nothing about.”
Lalloway was credited as a leading strategist behind this year’s historic win.
“We followed his instructions,” said Choi, adding that the Republican ticket was especially aided this year by unity.
Republican candidates were at odds with one other in 2010, with Lalloway and Shea squaring off and Schott having problems obtaining the Republican party endorsement.
That didn’t happen this year.
“Our three candidates were united from the beginning,” Choi said.
“We’ve all had our differences,” Lalloway said, “and we all put them aside.”
That helped, others said, in synchronizing campaign themes along with mail pieces that were effective in blasting Agran.
Now, Choi said, Irvine residents would see “transparency on the City Council.”
There’s already talk of auditing contracts for Irvine’s Great Park. Some have raised questions about how $200 million in public funds have been spent on contractors in recent years.
“I will definitely look into that,” Choi said.
Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Lynn Schott won a seat on the Irvine City Council. Schott finished third, behind incumbent Beth Krom and Christina Shea, and did not win a seat.
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