|(Feb 14, 2019, 12:10 a.m.) -- A number of state Senate candidates and their supporters from nearby S.E. L.A. County cities smaller than LB recently pooled their political clout and prevented LB Councilwoman Lena Gonzalez from obtaining the endorsement of the CA Democratic Party in the March 26 state Senate district special election.
At the Feb. 10 local Dem endorsement meeting, Councilwoman Gonzalez received a majority -- 33 votes (52%) -- but 28 voted "no endorsement" (48%) (plus 2 votes for candidate Leticia Vasquez Wilson). Dem Party rules require more than majority support at the local level to gain the CA Dem Party's endorsement and Councilwoman Gonzalez fell short of the Party's required margin.
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The result means Councilwoman Gonzalez won't be able to use CA Dem Party resources or the name (CA DEM PARTY) in the 33rd state Senate district where 55% of voters registered themselves as Dems. (A little over 28% of the district's voters registered as "Decline to State" and just under 12% are Repubs.)
However Councilwoman Gonzalez already has the endorsements of multiple prominent Dems, among them, the immediate-past state Senator she hopes to succeed: Ricardo Lara (elected Insurance Commissioner in November), in addition to L.A. County Supervisor Janice Hahn, Cong. Alan Lowenthal, LB Mayor Robert Garcia, LB Councilmembers Rex Richardson, Jeannine Pearce, Roberto Uranga.
Those names may carry weight in Long Beach (the biggest city in the state Senate district) but the S.E. L.A. County district includes cities beyond. Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D, NLB-Paramount) has multiple candidates in the state Senate race from cities within his Assembly district...and Party-active Dem leaders in those surrounding cities don't always tow LB's Party-line...and some resent the notion that they should.
The CA Secretary of State's office has certified 12 candidates for the March 26 special election ballot: 9 are Dems and 1 of the Dems (LB Councilman Al Austin) announced on Feb. 1 that he's no longer campaigning. That leaves 8 Dems including Gonzalez, who's endorsed by the Long Beach Democratic Women's Study Club. However the Yes We Can Democratic Club recently endorsed Leticia Vasquez Wilson, Lynwood's former Mayor and currently a member of the governing board of the Central Basin Municipal Water District. The SE L.A. Democratic Club voted "no consensus" and the Long Beach Democratic Club will meet Thursday (Feb. 14) on its endorsement.
Voters in roughly half of Long Beach (see map below) will decide the March 26 outcome in the multi-candidate race that shows signs of becoming a hardball battle. We're told that at the Feb. 10 endorsement meeting, Ms. Vasquez Wilson raised the issue of crime in Councilwoman Gonzalez's Council district (and by implication LB's thin police level for taxpayers) which hasn't been raised in recent LB political campaigns and may resonate among dissatisifed LB voters. If that happens, Councilwoman Gonzalez will likely cite her recent endorsement by (and a sizable campaign contribution from) the LB Police Officers Association (union) PAC.
Some LB Dem voters also recently received a double-sided color mailer from South Gate Councilwoman Denise Diaz, describing herself as "an experienced small business leader and innovative nonprofit executive" and a "proud graduate of Cal State Long Beach" promising (among other things) "safer streets."
If no single candidate receives 50%+1 on March 26, the two highest finishers proceed to a June 4 runoff.
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