MEADOWVIEW – Les Simmons, the senior pastor of South Sacramento Christian Center has done some extraordinary work in the community and his efforts are well documented.

But he won’t, at least for now, serve the community in the political arena. Simmons conceded to opponent Mai Vang for the Sacramento City Council’s District 8 seat last weekend.

It was a hard-fought battle put up by both candidates, but there could only be one winner.

“It has been an honor to run for City Council, and to have had the support and friendship of so many of you. However, it is clear from the results so far and the estimated votes left to be counted that this election will not go the way we would have hoped,” Simmons stated. “I just called Mai Vang and congratulated her on winning (the) election to the Sacramento City Council, pledging my best efforts to help her, in any way that I can, now and in the future.”

Ms. Vang thanked Simmons in return on social media.

“Pastor Les Simmons called to concede and offer his congratulations. I want to thank Pastor Simmons & his team for a hard-fought race. This grassroots win is dedicated to all our youth, elders, residents, community leaders — thank you for your #HeartAndHustle,” Ms. Vang posted on Twitter.

As of Nov. 17, Ms. Vang had expanded her lead over Simmons with 9,896 votes (56.0%) to his 7,732 votes (43.0%). Vang is now the first Asian woman to win a seat at the City Council’s dais.

She replaces Larry Carr who decided not to run for another term. Ms. Vang and Simmons were left standing for a runoff after the primary election on March 3.

“With so many challenges facing our society, it is time for us to come together to heal and stand behind our next Councilmember and ensure she succeeds,” Simmons stated. “Regardless of who you voted for in this race, we should all be proud of the groundbreaking victory Councilmember-elect Vang has achieved.”

Big bucks were raised between the two candidates. But Vang had the upper hand in that effort, too. Simmons had $92,000 by the beginning of October while Vang registered $130,000 in her coffers.

Ms. Vang and Simmons questioned each other abilities to attract funds from supporters. Both candidates ran on the homelessness, affordable housing, rent control, and public safety issues.

“But the race is now over,” Simmons said of the election. “This journey has been a truly unique, uplifting and at times humbling reminder of the important work we have to do not just in South Sacramento, but for all marginalized and underserved communities.”