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Runoffs to be held June 8 for 2 California legislative seats

Democrat Gatto will face GOP's Ramani in the 43rd Assembly District. GOP's Emmerson will face Democrat Blake and Monica of the American Independent Party in the 37th Senate District.

April 14, 2010|By Jean Merl

Two hard-fought Southern California special elections for vacant state legislative seats will be decided in a June 8 runoff, as no candidate in either race won a majority of the vote Tuesday.

In a Glendale-Silver Lake Assembly race, attorney and former legislative aide Mike Gatto of Silver Lake beat two other Democrats and will face Republican businessman Sunder Ramani of Burbank in a runoff to succeed Democrat Paul Krekorian, who was elected to the Los Angeles City Council. Final election night returns in the 43rd District contest showed Gatto with 32% of the vote, and Ramani, the only Republican on the ballot, with almost 32%. Glendale school board member Nayiri Nahabedian finished with 22% and Chahe Keuroghelian, a businessman and former spokesman for the Glendale Police Department, won nearly 14%.

With most of the ballots counted in Riverside County, where seven candidates were vying to replace former GOP state Sen. John Benoit, Assemblyman Bill Emmerson was easily outdistancing former Assemblyman Russ Bogh and teacher David W. Peters to win the Republican nomination in the June runoff. He will face Democrat Justin Blake, an actor, and Matt Monica of the American Independent Party in the 37th state Senate District contest.

Along with the two special elections, several cities and education districts held their regularly scheduled balloting Tuesday. They included Long Beach, where voters in the municipal primary weighed in on candidates for mayor, five City Council seats, city attorney, auditor and clerk, plus three slots each on the school district and community college boards.

Voters in several cities across Los Angeles County decided ballot measures. They included Sierra Madre, with a ballot measure asking whether to prohibit the city from taking property through eminent domain for private development, such as a shopping center.

Lancaster voters were asked to decide whether clergy delivering the City Council's traditional meeting-opening invocations could refer to specific religious figures, including Jesus. After complaints from residents who follow religions other than Christianity, the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California warned the city to stop the practice.

The 43rd Assembly District race has a special twist. Because the seat's two-year term expires this year, the winner of the special election will have to face voters again in the June primary the same day as the special runoff. All four candidates in the special election also are on the ballot for the regular term.

jean.merl@latimes.com

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