Special Elections Set in Three Los Angeles County Assembly Districts

Election Day will come early for voters in three Los Angeles County-based Assembly districts due to year-end resignations.

• Assembly District (AD) 39, formerly represented by Assemblymember Raul Bocanegra (D-Pacoima);

• AD 45, formerly represented by Assemblymember Matt Dababneh (D-Encino); and

• AD 54, formerly represented by Assemblymember Sebastian Ridley-Thomas (D-Los Angeles).

The Special Primary Election is scheduled for Tuesday, April 3 with the runoff coinciding with the regularly scheduled June 5 Primary Election. The runoff election will determine who fills the vacant seat through December.

The winning candidate in the November General Election will then serve a full two-year term. Voters will be asked four times in 2018 who they want to represent them in the lower house of the Legislature. (The regular Primary Election to choose the top two candidates for the November General Election is separate from the special election runoff.)

Multiple Candidates

All three districts—considered “safe” Democratic seats—have drawn multiple candidate fields and only one of the office seekers currently holds an elective office.

However, in North San Fernando Valley-based AD 39, former Assemblymember Patty Lopez is running in an attempt to regain the seat she lost to Bocanegra in 2016.

What the candidates lack in electoral experience they more than make up for in their past academic achievements. In the case of AD 39, three leading candidates have advanced degrees, with one, Luz Rivas, holding an undergraduate electrical engineering degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and a master’s in technology education from Harvard University.

The two leading candidates in the West San Fernando Valley-based AD 45 also have impressive academic credentials, with Tricia Robbins Kasson holding a master’s in urban planning from the University of Southern California (USC) and Jesse Gabriel, who earned his J.D. from Harvard Law School.

Finally, in the West Los Angeles-based AD 54, there are two leading candidates, both of whom holding post-graduate degrees. Los Angeles Community College District Board Member Sydney Kamlager, the lone elected running in these districts, earned her master’s in public policy from USC. Her principal challenger, Tepring Piquado, is a Ph.D. neuroscientist working at the RAND Corporation as a research and policy scientist. Piquado received both her master’s and Ph.D. from Brandeis University.

CalChamber Activity

The California Chamber of Commerce Public Affairs Department is closely monitoring the activity in all three Assembly districts, having interviewed all leading candidates. In addition, the department is working for other business community groups in an assessment of candidate viability, as well as their stances on issues important to the employer community.

For more information on these races or others races in the regularly scheduled elections, please contact the Public Affairs Department.

Staff Contact: Martin R. Wilson

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Martin R. Wilson joined the CalChamber in October 2011. He oversees all the CalChamber’s public affairs activities and campaign, including the Public Affairs Council, a political advisory committee made up of the CalChamber’s major members; its candidate recruitment and support program; and its political action committees: ChamberPAC, which supports pro-jobs candidates and legislators, and CalBusPAC, which qualifies, supports and/or opposes ballot initiatives. He also serves as the CalChamber liaison to JobsPAC, an employer-based independent expenditure committee that supports pro-jobs candidates. Wilson has more than 40 years of experience in California politics, playing leadership roles in the election and re-election of two governors and a U.S. senator. He also has orchestrated numerous successful ballot measure campaigns, and has served in government as a senior staff member at the local, state and federal levels. He graduated from San Diego State University with a B.A. in history.