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Freddie Rodriguez holds narrow lead in Assembly special election

September 25, 2013|By Melanie Mason

SACRAMENTO -- Democrat Freddie Rodriguez has a narrow lead in a special election held Tuesday to fill an Assembly seat vacated earlier this year by now-state Sen. Norma Torres (D-Pomona).

As of late Tuesday night, with all of the precincts of the 52nd Assembly District reporting at least partial results, Rodriguez had 51.3% of the vote, while his opponent, Ontario Mayor Paul Leon, won 48.7%.

Rodriguez, a Pomona city councilman, declared victory, saying in a statement he "look[ed] forward to being a voice for all of the people of the Inland Empire, and for safer neighborhoods, at the state Capitol.” 

Leon, however, has not conceded, saying in a statement: "We have been informed that there are several hundred ballots remaining to be counted and [we] will continue to monitor the results in the coming days."

The two candidates were jockeying to fill the Torres' former seat, after she was elected to the state Senate in May. Leon had run against Torres for the Senate seat, but lost by a 19 point margin.

Leon ran as a Republican in his race against Torres. This time, he declined to designate his political party.

Rodriguez had the backing of the state Democratic party and labor groups including the AFL-CIO and the California Teachers Assn. 

If Rodriguez's lead holds, he'll be the latest addition to the Democratic caucus in the Assembly. But the swelling of the Assembly Democrats' ranks will be short-lived. State Sen.-elect Holly Mitchell, a Los Angeles Democrat who won a decisive victory in her Senate race last week, will resign from her Assembly seat Wednesday. Mitchell will take the oath of office as state senator this week.


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