Joe Bray-Ali
City Councilman Gil Cedillo casts his vote at a polling station in a residence on Edgeware Road in Los Angeles on May 16. He defeated challenger Joe Bray-Ali to retain his seat.

LOS ANGELES (Diya TV) — Incumbent councilman Gil Cedillo handily won reelection to his Los Angeles City Council seat Tuesday over challenger Joe Bray-Ali in the heated runoff election for the seat representing northeast LA.

Cedillo was forced into the run-off by Bray-Ali in March, a bicycle advocate who had been a vocal critic of the councilman’s positions on street safety, development and gentrification.

“These voters in the 1st District are smart,” Cedillo said at his Tuesday night victory party. “They chose experience. They chose an incredible record. They chose someone who wants to bring people together.”

With 100 percent of the precincts reporting early Wednesday, the District 1 race capped a bitter, months-long contest between Bray-Ali and Cedillo, who was formerly a state senator and assemblyman. Cedillo, 63, faced criticism from constituents that his office has not been responsive to residents’ concerns.

Cedillo heads the city council’s housing committee and has previously been criticized for not doing enough to stop displacement in his district, which has seen a wave of gentrification that has contributed to rapidly rising rents. Cedillo said Tuesday night that he had listened to voters during the campaign and “learned a lot.”

The 38-year-old Bray-Ali came under fire last month for comments he made on a provocative website that encourages fat-shaming and racism. He later posted a Facebook video that contained a litany of admissions. He said in the video that he “slept with several other women” who were not his wife, and owed nearly $50,000 in state business taxes and fees.

The comments cost Bray-Ali the endorsements of the Los Angeles Times, City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell and Bike the Vote, a transportation advocacy group.

Addressing a crowd of his own on Tuesday night, Bray-Ali said his campaign had been heavily outspent by “a City Hall political machine.”

“People have still asked, ‘Why didn’t you scrub your Web history?'” he said. But he said that failing to do so wasn’t his regret and that he had “lived a life where I’ve sort of intellectually let a lot of things fly. … It’s part of the package of who I am.”

Originally a Democrat, Bray-Ali registered as a Republican in 2012 and later switched his affiliation back, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk said.