The race for the position of Pasadena’s mayor has been called, with Councilmember Victor Gordo beating incumbent Mayor Terry Tornek, making Gordo the first Latino mayor of Pasadena.

Gordo built up a strong lead as the votes began to be counted Nov. 3, and continued to hold a nine-point lead over Tornek as the count continued. By Tuesday night, both candidates agreed the race had been decided.

“I am excited to work together with Pasadena residents and with my colleagues on the City Council to move our city forward during this challenging time,” Gordo said in a statement late Nov. 3.

Tornek has been mayor since 2015 and was previously a city council member for District 7, working with his opponent on the council since 2009. Gordo has been a council member for District 5 for two decades.

The candidates are both Democrats and have similar views on a few topics, such as Black Lives Matter, which they both say they support. Beyond that, they differ on how Pasadena should be run.

One of the most contested topics between the two was an ordinance written by Tornek and another council member, John Kennedy, which allowed for the formation of a civilian police oversight committee.

In a debate that took place in October, Gordo accused Tornek of not being transparent enough when he and Kennedy drafted the ordinance.

“You know why I objected? One, because that’s not really trust – cutting out half of the committee and then most of the City Council and importantly the community out of the discussion was wrong,” Gordo said.

Tornek responded by claiming that Gordo was being inaccurate and that no one was shut out of the process.

Another issue between the two was Tornek’s decision as mayor to not join the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments. The Council of Governments is an agency made up of 30 cities, three Los Angeles County Supervisorial Districts, and three Municipal Water Districts. Its goal is to improve the quality of life for the residents of the San Gabriel Valley.

Gordo went on the offensive at the same debate in October, claiming that Tornek refused to join the group due to the other cities being too small.

“The reason I don’t want to join forces with them is not because they’re small, but because they typically opposed progressive housing programs, and I don’t want to be affiliated with them,” Tornek said in response.

Gordo will be sworn in in early December.


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