By Jim Ellis
April 5, 2017 — Los Angeles County voters in the first of the five national special congressional elections went to the polls yesterday, and two of the 23 candidates -– the pair who spent the most money –- advanced to a June 6 run-off. With turnout falling short of even 10 percent of the 305,641 registered voters, Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez (D) and former Los Angeles Planning Commissioner Robert Lee Ahn (D) advanced to the secondary election. The candidates are vying to replace former Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Los Angeles) who is now California’s Attorney General.
With all 192 precincts reporting but provisional and late arriving ballots remaining to be counted, Gomez attracted 28 percent support and, as expected, clinched the first run-off position. Ahn, who spent more than $300,000 of his own money and raised an additional $330,000, captured 20 percent, more than doubling third place finisher Maria Cabildo’s (D) total.
Because California allows mail ballots to be postmarked on Election Day, county election officials will still tabulate any vote received in their office by April 7. Therefore, it is theoretically possible that the candidates’ positioning could still change, but highly unlikely considering the large margin between second and third place.
Former Los Angeles City Council aide Sara Hernandez (D), who was third in fundraising with over $425,000 raised, finished fourth but with just 1,525 votes, only five ballots ahead of Bernie Sanders campaign official Arturo Carmona. Ex-White House aide Alejandra Campoverdi (D), who spent more than $260,000, finished a disappointing tenth with just 679 votes. The lone Republican from the field of 23 candidates, William Morrison, who spent no money, placed eighth.
The 34th District, with 46 percent of its residents being foreign born, is 64 percent Hispanic and 20 percent Asian. More than 58 percent of the voters are registered Democrats and just 9 percent are Republican.