Capitol Alert: Ridley-Thomas win adds to California Assembly Democratic edge

jwhite@sacbee.comDecember 4, 2013 

Election officials process the ballots by machine as a last step after the hand count at the Sacramento County Elections office. Photo taken November 13, 2012 in Sacramento, California.

RENÉE C. BYER — rbyer@sacbee.com

It was a foregone conclusion that a special election for an open 54th Assembly district seat would fortify the Democratic majority in the Assembly. The only question was which candidate would emerge from an all-Democratic field.

Voters answered that question decisively on Tuesday, electing Sebastian Ridley-Thomas by a wide enough margin to avoid a runoff. Ridley-Thomas secured 60 percent of the vote.

Fittingly, Ridley-Thomas serves as an aide to Los Angeles City Councilman Curren Price, whose July departure from the Legislature after winning election to the city council ultimately opened up the 54th Assembly district. Sen. Holly Mitchell, D-Los Angeles, slid over to the Senate after winning Price's old seat and in doing so vacated her old 54th district post.

After Ridley-Thomas is sworn in, the Legislature will be one seat short of full capacity after months of special elections, just in time for the 2014 legislative session to begin (Sen. Bill Emmerson recently made the surprise announcement he would step down). Democrats have cemented two-thirds majorities in both houses, allowing them to conduct business without any Republican votes.

The son of former state Sen. and Assemblyman and current Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors member Mark Ridley-Thomas, Sebastian Ridley-Thomas pulled in nearly $650,000 in campaign contributions over the course of 2013.

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