Five out of seven openly gay candidates
running for seats in the California Assembly advanced in Tuesday's
One candidate's loss was too narrow to
call until Wednesday morning.
Michael Wilson, a Vallejo City
Councilman, lost out to Santa Rosa Planning Commissioner Michael
Allen by a scant 520 votes in his bid for the 7th Assembly
District, which includes parts of Solano, Napa and Sonoma counties.
Gay rights advocates faced a second –
but expected – loss in the fight to represent the people of
California's 53rd District. Mitch Ward barely scraped up
sufficient votes to place third in a crowded race.
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.
He had positioned himself as a strong advocate for repeal of
Proposition 8, California's voter-approved gay marriage ban.
Of the five candidates that advanced
Tuesday, two are incumbents and expected to remain in office, while
the other three candidates are running in districts that heavily
Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, 68, is widely
expected to continue representing the voters of District 13, the
majority of which is in San Francisco, although he will face a
Republican opponent in the fall. Assembly Speaker John Perez of Los
Angeles, on the other hand, is running unopposed.
Rich Gordon, the current president of
the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors, narrowly won a
three-person race for Assembly District 21 that remained too close to
call Tuesday night. But final tabulations Wednesday morning
confirmed Gordon, 61, will face Republican Greg Conlon and
Libertarian Ray Bell in the fall for the chance to replace termed-out
Democrat Ira Ruskin of Redwood City.
Democrats outnumber Republicans nearly
2-to-1 in the 21st District, which includes parts of San
Mateo and Santa Clara counties.
San Diego councilwoman and small
businesswoman Toni Atkins faced no competition in Tuesday's
Democratic primary. She'll face Republican Ralph Denney in the fall
for Assembly District 76.
In 2006 and again in 2008, San Diego
businessman Denney challenged Assemblywoman Lori Saldana for the
seat. The incumbent Saldana, however, handily won both races.
The biggest surprise came in the Los
Angeles-area Assembly District 50 race where Ricardo Lara was facing
three strong candidates for the Democratic nomination.
Lara was accused of being a “machine
candidate and a carpetbagger” by opponents after he received the
backing of Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and leading labor
The son of Mexican immigrants, Lara
says he'll work hard to make college education for immigrant students
Four of the candidates – Perez,
Atkins, Wilson and Lara – have the endorsement of the Gay
& Lesbian Victory Fund, a group that supports openly gay
elected officials, but Ammiano does not. California's largest gay
California, has endorsed all five candidates.