By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
De León cut his teeth politically in 1994 as an organizer of the largest march against Proposition 187, the anti-immigrant ballot initiative that galvanized Latino voters. That same year, Villaraigosa won the state Assembly seat that de León will likely assume. (Technically, he won’t occupy the seat until November, after he has defeated the Republican nominee.)
A FORMER ROOMMATE OF DE LEÓN, Núñez had been facing a minor threat to his power base from the stable of candidates backed by Sacramento lobbyist and political consultant Richie Ross. Voters rejected Chavez and another Ross client — state Senate hopeful Rudy Bermúdez, who placed just 394 votes behind his opponent, Assemblyman Ron Calderon, in a district centered around Norwalk.
Still, Ross did eke out a few election victories. Schoolteacher Tony Mendoza won the Democratic nomination in a district stretching from Hawaiian Gardens to Pico Rivera, while optometrist Ed Hernandez won his party’s nomination in a Baldwin Park–based district. Davis, an aide to County Supervisor Yvonne Brathwaite Burke scored a stunning 21-point upset against Willoughby in the South Los Angeles contest for state Assembly. And in the South Bay, Inglewood Councilman Curren Price was leading Gardena Councilman Steven Bradford by just 124 votes in the race to replace departing state Assemblyman Jerome Horton. But whether the stable of Ross clients — a group that includes Richard Alarcon, the San Fernando Valley pol who is jumping into the state Assembly in November — will pose a leadership challenge to Núñez is unclear.
Then there was the question of women. Throughout the primary campaign, departing legislators and up-and-coming candidates warned that Tuesday’s election would reduce the number of women serving in both chambers. De León could fill one of the seats that had been occupied by a woman, while Montañez gave up her state Assembly seat in her unsuccessful bid for state Senate.
La Cañada–Flintridge Mayor Anthony Portantino, who enjoyed the support of Villaraigosa and the County Fed, won the Democratic nomination to fill the seat being vacated by Assemblywoman Carol Liu. Monterey Park Mayor Mike Eng, another candidate backed by Villaraigosa and labor, may fill the seat being vacated by his wife, Assemblywoman Judy Chu. And in the West Hollywood–Brentwood–Sherman Oaks area, former Los Angeles Councilman Mike Feuer defeated West Hollywood Councilwoman Abbe Land, who had the backing of many of the state’s female lawmakers.
One area where women held the line was the coastal district represented over the past decade by state Senator Sheila Kuehl and, more recently, by departing Assemblywoman Fran Pavley. The woman Pavley and Kuehl selected for the seat, Santa Monica–Malibu school-board member Julia Brownley, emerged victorious from a crowded heap of Democratic candidates — outpacing a lawyer, an environmentalist and an environmental lawyer.
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