Community activist Wendy Carrillo and healthcare director Luis Lopez appear to be headed for a December runoff after emerging as the top vote getters in today’s 51st State Assembly District primary, based on preliminary results.
With 100% of precincts reporting, Carrillo won the biggest share of votes, 21%, followed by Lopez, with 19.13%, according to the L.A. County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk. College trustee Mike Fong, who had taken the lead in early results, came in third with 16.62%.
Since no candidate won 50% of the vote, the two frontrunners are now headed for a Dec. 5 runoff election.
The preliminary results must still be certified by election officials and outstanding ballots tabulated.
Carillo and Lopez were among 13 candidates on the ballot. The race, as the L.A. Times notes, had been a “low-wattage and relatively low-dollar race so far” in which of the mostly Democratic, liberal candidates have not been able to break out of the pack.
Today’s special election was called after former Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives for California’s 34th District. Gomez was the winner of a special election to replace Xavier Becerra, who left Congress to become Attorney General of California.
The 51st Assembly District covers most of the Eastside, stretching from Echo Park and Silver Lake on the west, Eagle Rock and Highland Park on the north and El Sereno and unincorporated East Los Angeles on the east.
Wendy Carrillo first came to the United States as an undocumented immigrant from El Salvador when she was a child, according to the biography on her campaign web site. She grew up in in Boyle Heights and City Terrace, becoming a labor leader with SEIU Local 2015, leading communications and organizing efforts for long-term care workers. She has also worked as a radio and digital journalist and producer. She is currently on the advisory board of Vision to Learn, a non-profit that provides student with free glasses.
Carrillo ran in the primary last April to replace Rep. Xavier Becerra in Congress. She received about 5 percent of the vote, coming in sixth out of 20 candidates.
Probably the earliest starter in this race, Lopez declared his candidacy for the Assembly months ago, before Gomez even won the runoff for Congress. Lopez made his announcement just one day after the primary in April narrowed down the Congressional race to Gomez and Robert Lee Ahn.
Indeed, Lopez has already come close to the job, having lost to Gomez in a runoff in 2012.
Lopez is a former president of the East Area Planning Commission and a former chair of the City Regional Prop K Commission. He built and ran the Latino Coalition Against AIDS, and is a founding board member of Honor PAC, a statewide Latina/o LGBT political action committee.
He has also managed large‐scale data projects for KPMG Consulting Inc. (now Bearing Point, Inc.), and was a Social Science Analyst at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in Washington, D.C.
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