Isaac Bryan holds lead in California Assembly special election for L.A. district

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In this May 26, 2020, file photo, members of the state Assembly meet to discuss the state budget at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, Pool, File)

In this May 26, 2020, file photo, members of the state Assembly meet to discuss the state budget at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli, Pool, File)

Isaac Bryan jumped out to an enormous lead Tuesday in the race for a state Assembly seat in a heavily Democratic Los Angeles district.

Preliminary results gave Bryan 49.7% of the votes in Tuesday’s special election for the 54th Assembly seat, according to the Secretary of State.

Bryan would need more than half the votes to avoid a special runoff election that would be held July 20 between the top two vote-getters.

The 54th state Assembly seat was vacated by now-Sen. Sydney Kamlager, who endorsed Bryan, her former senior adviser. Bryan also serves on the Los Angeles Unified School District’s redistricting commission.

Five Democrats and one independent fought for the seat.

Heather Hutt, a former Southern California district director for U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, was in second place with 24.3% of the votes, followed by another Democrat, Cheryl C. Turner, with 10.6%. Turner is an attorney and a member of the state Board of Vocational Nursing and Psychiatric Technicians.

Hutt had the most votes in the state Democratic Party’s endorsement caucus, though none had enough to capture the party’s backing, according to the California Target Book that tracks elections. Hutt also was the district director for former Assemblyman and Sen. Isadore Hall, who endorsed her.

In fourth place with 7.6% of the votes was Dallas Fowler, a political consultant and former Southern California director for Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis, who endorsed her.

Grocery worker Bernard Senter, who was running as a no party preference candidate, had 4.5% of the vote followed by financial advisor Samuel Robert Morales with 3.2%.

The race in the 54th is the latest special primary election to originate with last November’s general election.

Kamlager was elected to the state Senate in March to replace fellow Democrat Holly Mitchell, who left in mid-term after she was elected to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors in November.

Democrats make up 64% of registered voters in the district that includes LA’s Crenshaw and Westwood neighborhoods and Baldwin Hills, Century City and Culver City, while Republicans have 9% and 22% have no party preference.

Bryan reported raising and spending about $450,000; Fowler about $60,000; and Hutt nearly $400,000. Bryan and Hutt also had independent expenditure campaigns backing their bids.

Turner did not report any contributions or spending but earlier this year ran unsuccessfully against Kamlager and others for Mitchell’s vacant 30th Senate District seat and in 2018 ran unsuccessfully for the state Board of Equalization.

Morales and Senter did not report any campaign receipts or spending, according to the Secretary of State.

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