We're calling it:
Jeff Gorell (R) of Ventura is your next representative for California State Assembly District 37. He beat opponent Ferial Masry (D) 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.
All 26 L.A. County races for the California State Assembly were no-brainers — only District 36, which includes northeastern suburbs Palmdale and Lancaster, was even close.
The district's Stephen Knight (R) is just barely ahead of opponent Linda Jones (D), a black school-board member who might win votes from the new wave of minorities who've moved into Antelope Valley. Jones only lost to Knight by about 5,000 votes in 2008. Their district is registered neck-and-neck at 39.1% Republican, 38.6% Democrat.
Aside from Gorell and Knight, if he wins, only three other state assemblymen from L.A. County will be Republican — in stuffy districts like Ventura and Santa Clarita, unsurprisingly.
The only noteworthy movement this election was out the back door. Current Assemblyman Hector de la Torre (D), who represents the working-class South Gate/Bellflower area, is vacating his seat early because he's fed up with sluggish legislative quarrels. (Of course, his exit won't make much of a difference, seeing as fellow Latino liberal Ricardo Lara (D) is standing by, fresh and ready to fill his shoes.)
The huffy departure is a strange phenomenon among his peers this year: Torre 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.)
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 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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