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Hot Assembly races pick up steam

December 7, 2011 |  4:35 pm

Several Los Angeles-area Assembly district races continue to build steam, even though the candidate filing period hasn’t yet begun. Redistricting has produced new political maps -- and new opportunities -- and some contenders have been raising money and lining up endorsements for weeks or even months.

In the San Gabriel Valley’s newly drawn 49th District, former Rosemead Mayor John Tran, now a member of the El Monte Union High School board, added to his list of backers Kien Tiet, board member-elect of the Temple City Unified School District; and Robert Mike Barrios, a member of the El Monte City School  District board.

Nurses union  official Jimmy Gomez, running in an already-crowded race for the newly drawn 51st District in northeast Los Angeles, announced support from the Teamsters Joint Council 42.

Former  Democratic Assemblyman Tom Calderon, who is seeking to return to the Legislature’s lower house from the newly drawn 58th District in Southeast Los Angeles County, picked up endorsements from two state senators -- Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles) and Ted Lieu (D-Torrance).  Also running is Downey City Councilman Luis Marquez, an aide to state Sen. Alan Lowenthal (D-Long Beach).

Things also are heating up in the newly drawn 59th District, which runs west from Huntington Park through parts of South Los Angeles.

Efren Martinez, a Marine Corps veteran and community activist, announced endorsements from several area elected officials, including Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-Lakewood), Assemblyman Isadore Hall (D-Compton) and former Assemblyman Hector de la Torre. 

Several other Democrats are seeking the open seat, including Greg Akili, an official with Social Security Works Campaign.  Akili recently touted endorsements from several prominent South Los Angeles-area clergy, including the Rev. James Lawson, the Rev. Norman Copeland and the Rev. Chip Murray.

In the newly drawn 64th District, Carson City Councilman Mike Gipson said he has received backing from state Supt. of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson. Gipson also has been endorsed by two  incumbents, Assemblymen Warren Furutani (D-Gardena) and Isadore Hall (D-Compton).  Furutani is running for Los Angeles City Council and Hall for a seat in Congress, so the Assembly district seat could be open.


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-- Jean Merl