Long Beach to elect first Black mayor, Rex Richardson, after opponent concedes
Updated at 8 p.m.
LOS ANGELES — The first-time mayoral challenger, Andre Crayton’s race for the mayor’s office didn’t have much to go on. At one point, voters considered him the second-place choice, according to political handicappers.
And yet the small-town mayor from Long Beach has been able to overcome his low position to win the race to replace outgoing Mayor Bob Foster, whose term ends next week.
Foster was one of the most respected mayors in the country, with a strong record of tackling major issues head-on while still getting along well with the people.
“I always thought the public liked me,” Foster said before the election. “My opponents thought I didn’t have a chance. But we’ve proved the people were wrong.”
Foster, who became the first African American mayor in a half century when he won his first election to the mayor’s position in 1977, said he believes that African Americans are starting to make their way to the top rungs of elected power. He said if the election results hold up and the race can be called on Nov. 6, then he will make every effort to get the council majority that elected him.
“I didn’t just want to be mayor, I wanted to be president,” Foster said. “This election can be a wake-up call for people.”
Crayton, who also defeated the longtime city council majority leader, Steve Zipp, for the mayor’s seat, said Foster, who won his first general election in 1976, was the only mayor he could envision as the next mayor.
“It’s important for us to have an African-American as mayor,” Crayton said. “I’ve been trying to get elected, but I guess I can get there.”
The race was a bit more crowded this year with two candidates and