INGLEWOOD — Former Santa Monica Police chief James Butts is headed for a runoff election in the Inglewood mayoral race after finishing in second-place with 31 percent of the vote last Tuesday.

The top finisher, incumbent Mayor Danny Tabor, received 43.5 percent of the vote, short of the majority required for a victory.

The runoff election in the town of about 115,000 is tentatively scheduled for January.

“I’m going to have to attract the voters from the third and fourth place finishers who are obviously looking for someone other than Mr. Tabor, and I will reach out to them,” Butts said on Friday.

Butts, who was Santa Monica’s police chief from 1991 to 2006 and directed security at Los Angeles World Airports from 2006 to 2010, said his Inglewood campaign is focusing on his experience as a manager of large and complex organizations.

Tabor, formerly an Inglewood City Councilman, became mayor after winning a special election in August that was triggered when three-term Inglewood Mayor Roosevelt Dorn resigned in January, hours before he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor public corruption charge connected to a low-interest loan he received from the city.

Butts had planned on running in the August special election but was disqualified when the Los Angeles County Registrar’s Office said his voter registration had been filed after the deadline, which Butts denied.

“A lot of people are dissatisfied by the state of government here in the city,” he said, “and it’s our hope to get people to rally around the fact that they have an alternative now.”

Despite receiving 6,049 votes, to Tabor’s 8,411 in Tuesday’s election, Butts said the runoff could go his way.

“I feel very confident that we’ll do very well,” Butts said. “For me it’s a whole different race when you have just two opponents as opposed to five.”

nickt@www.smdp.com

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