Seven openly gay candidates are running
for a seat in the California Assembly.
Two of those candidates – Assemblyman
Tom Ammiano of San Francisco and Assembly Speaker John Perez of Los
Angeles – are incumbents and expected to remain in office.
Two candidates appear to be shoo-ins.
Former San Diego councilwoman and small
businesswoman Toni Atkins faces no competition in Tuesday's
Democratic primary, and is expected to face Republican Ralph Denney
in the fall for Assembly District 76.
Rich Gordon, a member of the San Mateo
County Board of Supervisors, is strongly favored to win the
endorsement of Democrats who will decide between three candidates.
Gordon has won over all eight newspapers that have endorsed a
candidate in the race.
“I would say I am cautiously
optimistic,” Gordon told San Francisco gay weekly the Bay
Both candidates also enjoy the
endorsement of the Gay
& Lesbian Victory Fund, a group that supports LGBT elected
officials, and California's leading gay rights advocate, Equality
While Ammiano, Perez, Atkins and Gordon
appear to be taking something of a cake walk to the Assembly, the other
three candidates will have a steeper incline to overcome.
Two of those candidates – Michael
Wilson and Ricardo Lara – have the endorsement of Equality
California, but Mitch Ward does not. The Victory Fund, however, has
endorsed all three candidates.
Michael Wilson, a Vallejo City
Councilman, is facing a strong Democratic primary competitor in Santa
Rosa Planning Commissioner Michael Allen. Voters will decide Tuesday
which Democrat advances to the fall's general election to face Doris
Gentry, their most likely competitor, in the race for Assembly
In the Los Angeles-area Assembly
District 50 race, Ricardo Lara is facing three challengers to win the
Democratic nomination. Lara, the son of Mexican immigrants, says
he'll work hard to make college education for immigrant students more
affordable. His closest Democratic rival is Downey City Councilman
Luis Marquez. An additional two Republicans are fighting to win the
Mitch Ward, the African-American mayor
of Manhattan Beach, is considered a long shot to win the Democratic
primary for California's 53rd District.
Ward is among the 18,000 gay and
lesbian couples who married in California during the brief
May-to-November 2008 window when gay marriage was legal in the state.
“I will fight to ensure that all
members of our community are provided with the same rights as me and
my partner,” Ward said. “I continue to support a reversal of
Prop 8 [the gay marriage ban] either legislatively or at the ballot
box, sooner rather than later.”
If elected, Ward would become the first
openly gay African-American elected to the California state
Should all seven candidates win, they
would collectively make up nearly ten percent of the Assembly.