|(April 18, 2017, 11:07 a.m.) -- 8th dist. Councilman Al Austin has indicated to LBREPORT.com that he's "contemplating a run for state Senate in 2020 or possibly sooner" but adds that he has "not made a public announcement or opened a committee."
LBREPORT.com inquired by email about the subject after more than one source told us that during a well-attended recent fundraiser at E.J. Malloy's in Bixby Knolls (at which one source said "all the major local players were visible"), Austin had made some type of reference to possibly seeking the state Senate seat that would become vacant if incumbent Senator Ricardo Lara were elected state Insurance Commissioner in Nov. 2018.
Councilman Austin confirmed the fundraiser, didn't confirm making that statement at the event but said he has "had private discussions about possibilities and future options wiht family and friends."
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As previously reported by LBREPORT.com, state Sen. Lara filed candidacy paperwork in late January 2017 in the Nov. 2018 election for state Insurance Commissioner. In November 2016, voters in Sen. Lara's district (which stretches from Long Beach to Huntington Park) re-elected him to a second four year Senate term (with no Republican challenger on the ballot; a Libertarian opponent received 20% of the vote.) Sen. Lara publicly announced his run for Insurance Commissioner in late March 2017 and was swiftly endorsed by Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia. LBREPORT.com has speculated [caveat: no inside information] that Garcia, a longtime Lara ally, might pursue the state Senate seat if Lara is elected Insurance Commissioner in November 2018. Garcia is widely expected to announce he'll ask voters to re-elect him to second term as Mayor in April 2018.
Councilman Austin was re-elected to a four-year term in LB's 8th Council district in April 2016, winning a majority of votes cast in a field of three candidates. (His challengers were Wesley Turnbow (well-funded, backed by business interests) and Laurie Angel (late entry, limited financial resources, endorsed by retired 8th dist. Councilwoman Rae Gabelich who'd endorsed Austin in 2012.)
Councilman Austin maintains an officeholder account which collected $17,748 in contributions from July 1-Dec. 31, 2016. Austin's re-election campaign committee ended 2016 with a small campaign debt of roughly $700.
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