Progressives Make Strong Showings in LA Primary

Last Updated: April 5, 2024By

Progressive LA City Council candidates made strong showings in in the March 5, 2024, Primary Election. In the seven seats that were up for grabs, four candidates endorsed by the Democratic Socialists of America-Los Angeles (DSA-LA) fared well. Nithya Raman (District 4) and Marqueece Harris-Dawson (District 8), both incumbents, were reelected. Jillian Burgos (District 4) qualified to face Adrin Nazarian in a runoff. And in perhaps the election’s biggest surprise, tenant attorney Ysabel Jurado appears headed for a runoff while outpolling political veterans incumbent Kevin de Leon (District 14) and California State Representative Miguel Santiago (District 54) .


The (DSA-LA) (is known for the effectiveness of its grass roots campaign efforts. In support of Ysabel Jurado, “her campaign sent 20 paid staffers, and about 250 volunteers to 85,000 doors across the 14th district.” [1] Nithya Raman’s campaign succeeded in spite of a $400,000 contribution by mega property owner Douglass Emmett to oppose her. In a March 17 editorial celebrating Raman’s win, the progressive Los Angeles Times boasted, “Her win is a heartening sign that powerful interests can’t just dump a ton of money in a race and always prevail…This race was also seen as a bellweatherr for how the small but outspoken progressive coalition on the City Council is faring.”

Should both Burgos and Jurado win their campaigns, (DSA-LA)-backed candidates would join Hugo Soto-Martinez (District 13), Eunisses Hernandez (District 1), Raman and Harris-Dawson to occupy 33% of the City Council seats (5 of 15).

According to its website DSA-LA beliefs include: “housing as a human right, defunding police and reallocating funds into communities, canceling student debt, prison abolition, and electing democratic socialists to all levels of government.” [2]

As significant as 33% of the council would seem, the influence of the DSA-LA voting block is far greater in landlord-tenant issues that their numbers alone might indicate. Since being elected Soto-Martinez and Hernandez have been aggressive in promoting anti-apartment owner measures for which a majority of other council members have supported. The council does not have a comparably forceful or numeric block of pro-housing provider members.

This could become particularly significant if the Justice for Renters Act passes in November, which will allow the council to reset rent control regulations for the city. Moreover, as DSA-LA candidates increasingly win election, its influence will continue to mount.

[1] David Zahniser reporting in the Los Angeles Times; [2]


Written by Wesley V. Wellman

Wesley V. Wellman has been active in the financial services field for more than 40 years. His brokerage firm, Wellman Realty Company, specializes in multi-family and commercial investment property. Since the year 2000, Mr. Wellman has sold over $280 million of investment property. He is a Santa Monica apartment industry leader and is frequently quoted in the local press about rental property issues. He is one of the founding directors of the Action Apartment Association, which was formed in 1980. As an advisor, Mr. Wellman draws on a wealth of educational background in real estate, taxation, securities and estate planning.



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