Compton mayoral race too close to call, but favoring Councilwoman Emma Sharif

By Kathryn Barnes

One of the oldest cities in Southern California is Compton, which was incorporated in 1888. And after nine years, it is about to get a new mayor. Aja Brown currently holds the office, but decided against seeking a third term in the position. 

Last week a runoff election was held to determine the next mayor of Compton, which was supposed to name a victor after Friday. It was between 26-year-old realtor Cristian Reynaga and 70-year-old City Councilwoman Emma Sharif.

Kailyn Brown has been following the election for the LA Times. She says the race is still too close to declare a winner, but Sharif is in the lead.

“It seems as though, if Emma were to win, voters are voting for experience over history, so making history with its first Latino and youngest mayor, whereas Emma Sharif has more experience,” says Brown.

Currently, there is only one Latino councilmember, Isaac Galvan, who's up for reelection in a very tight race. If Reynaga and Galvan both lose, there will be no Latino leadership in a city that is roughly two-thirds Latino, says Brown.

“It seems as though residents don't care as much about race. I've heard from a lot of residents in my research that they just want whoever is the better candidate to get it done,” she says.

The city’s next mayor will need to tackle issues related to homelessness and a recent lawsuit against the LA Sheriff’s Department alleging that the department routinely bills the city for patrols that don’t happen.