Gomez, Ahn to Face Off in June 6 Runoff

By EGP Staff Report

Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez will likely face Los Angeles Planning Commissioner and Attorney Robert Lee Ahn in a June 6 runoff in the 34th Congressional District special election, according to semi-official election results released Wednesday by the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk.

The seat was left vacant by former Rep. Xavier Becerra’s move to Sacramento to become the state’s attorney general.

Jimmy Gomez 2

(Jimmy Gomez for Congress)

Gomez and Ahn pulled to the front of the pack of 24 candidates, 19 of them, like Gomez and Ahn, Democrats looking to represent the overwhelmingly Democratic district. Most of the candidates have never held elective office, with the exception of Gomez and former Los Angeles Unified School District board member Yolie Flores.

Gomez, D-Eagle Rock, led the field with 8,156 votes, or 28.14 percent, with Ahn coming in second with 5,504 votes, or 18.99 percent, according to the county’s unofficial election results.

Democrat Maria Cabildo, an economic development director, was third with 2,778 votes, 9.58 percent.

According to the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk, about 13,400 ballots still need to be counted, including questioned ballots and vote-by-mail ballots that were turned in at polling places Tuesday or are received in the mail by Friday – but postmarked on or before election day. The next update of the count is expected to be released Friday afternoon.

Because no candidate received a majority, a runoff between the top two finishers will be held June 6.

Robert Lee Ahn

(Robert Lee Ahn for Congress)

The district stretches roughly from Koreatown in the west to the Long Beach (710) Freeway in the east and from the Santa Monica (10) Freeway in the south to the Ventura (134) Freeway in the north. It includes downtown Los Angeles, the Westlake district, Highland Park, Eagle Rock, Boyle Heights and Lincoln Heights.

Twenty-three of the candidates were on the official ballot. The 24th candidate, Michelle Walker, a Democrat and community activist, qualified as a write-in candidate. Her vote total was not available Wednesday.

It’s noteworthy that more than half the candidates vying for the seat are women, many who said during candidate forums they were inspired to run following the Pres. Trump’s election, which triggered marches in support of women’s rights across the country.

Absent a major shift in the voting trend, it’s unlikely, though not impossible, one of the women candidates will pick up enough votes to move ahead of Gomez or Ahn for a place in the runoff.

It’s more likely outstanding votes for a woman will be distributed amongst all the female candidates.

The apparent failure for a woman to make it to runoff now has some political advocates looking to replace Gomez in the Assembly, should he be elected, with a woman.

Former state senator Martha Escutia, in a Facebook posting, asked if she was “naïve” to think that the women could have sat together and “agreed on ONE woman candidate to run?”

“Am I naive to hope for this?? I sincerely hope that Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez endorses a woman to replace him in the State Legislature!” she wrote Wednesday.

She called on women candidates to “consolidate please, no more debacles!”

Also coming up short were candidates with ties to Sen. Bernie Sanders’ campaign for president. It was initially thought those ties could play in their favor in the congressional district because Sanders won the majority vote over former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

But with semi-official election results putting the voter turnout at about 9 percent, some political observers are questioning whether the fervor seeing during the presidential campaign can be sustained.

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April 6, 2017  Copyright © 2012 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.

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