Alex Padilla Wins* California State Senate District 20 In Election 2010, Feeding Opponent Kathleen Evans To Lions Before Cheering Valley Crowds

We're calling it:

Alex Padilla (D) of the San Fernando Valley is your next representative for California State Senate District 20. He beat opponent Kathleen Evans (R) by a landslide.

*OK, so we fibbed in the headline. The final results aren't in and the polls haven't closed. But thanks to sleazy incumbent fixing of elections in California -- the Weekly explains gerrymandering here -- the new crop of California State Legislators was chosen months ago.

Of the seven senatorial seats in L.A. County up for contention this November (seven more will open in 2011), all will be filled by Democratic shoo-ins. Six of the seven are Latino -- and one died two weeks ago.

The only noteworthy movement this election was out the back door. Twelve-year Senate veteran Gloria Romero (D), the current representative for District 24 (L.A. proper), is vacating her seat due to frustration with endless legislative squabbling. (Not to worry -- she'll be swiftly replaced by like-minded Democrat Ed Hernandez.) The huffy departure is a strange phenomenon among her peers this year: Romero and eight other Latino legislators are ducking out of office before their term limit, mainly because they're pissed they can't get anything done.

Hell -- we are too. That's what Prop. 25 is for. (Then again, even that comes with baggage.)

The most bizarre and unsettling Democratic shoo-in of the 2010 election season is Jenny Oropeza (D), incumbent for the senatorial seat of the Long Beach area. She's running against John S. Stammreich (R - no chance whatsoever). Thing is, Oropeza died of cancer two weeks ago.

Still, her camp has been sending out mailers like nothing's wrong, encouraging locals to vote for the six-feet-under incumbent. That way, the party can hold a special election for its Democrat of choice once this round of voting is over.

You know democracy has gone stale when a dead candidate can woo the majority.

In the whole of California, political experts agree that a measly 10 of 153 total races for the state Senate, Assembly and the House of Representatives were close enough to even call a contest.

Of 80 Assembly seats, about half a dozen saw hot races, while only one of 20 Senate seats and one of 53 House seats hosted any competition at all. Of those, most were in the Central Valley; L.A. was at a virtual standstill, with the vague exception of California State Assembly District 36.

2010's snore of a state race has more than a little to do with incumbent gerrymandering of California's voting districts -- a practice up for re-haul by a citizen commission next year, if Prop. 27 doesn't keep things as they are.

In L.A. County, though, where reps are so overwhelmingly Democrat, new district lines could mean a swing to the conservative side. Until then, meet the Class of 2010 -- virtually identical to the Class of 2009.

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