World Events

Assemblywoman Sydney Kamlager declares victory in state Senate seat race

Assemblywoman Sydney Kamlager declared victory Wednesday in the race for the 30th Senate District seat, which stretches from Century City to South L.A., after amassing a large early lead in the vote count against six other candidates.

Kamlager (D-Los Angeles), who represents the 54th District in the state Assembly, secured 66% of the votes tabulated as of Tuesday evening, putting her comfortably ahead of the second-place finisher, Culver City Vice Mayor Daniel Lee, who received 13% of the vote.

If the lead holds, Kamlager would avoid a runoff election in May, which would have been necessary if no candidate received at least 50% of votes.

“Woke up this morning to the next chapter … and I’m ready,” Kamlager said in a Facebook post on her personal page. “Some want to win to claim it as their own. If you know me, that is far from who I am. You grow power when you share power. You share power when you are honest, open, and engaged.”

Further down in the post, she wrote: “In the words of Beyoncé, ‘always stay gracious.’ That part, and 67%.”

Kamlager’s Assembly district includes much of the communities she will represent in the state Senate, adding Westmont, downtown L.A. and Florence to her constituency, a district of nearly 1 million constituents, according to her campaign.

The seat came open after Supervisor Holly Mitchell successfully won her bid for the 2nd District position on the powerful L.A. County Board of Supervisors. A former district director for Mitchell, Kamlager received the endorsements of not only Mitchell but also several political powerhouses, including U.S. Reps. Karen Bass and Maxine Waters and Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors.

Kamlager campaigned on securing COVID-19 relief for the district, and a promise to implement progressive criminal justice reform and take immediate action on climate change.

“We’re in the middle of an enormously important legislative session, addressing COVID and people’s urgent needs,” Kamlager said in a statement. “Winning this primary election benefits our community, because it means all the campaigning ends now and I can get right to work as senator.”

Republican candidate Joe Lisuzzo, a businessman and local restaurant owner, came in third in the heavily Democratic district, securing 3,814 votes, or 6.69% of tabulated votes, according to county election results.

Ballots were sent to all voters in the district, with 10.35% casting ballots. Voters could mail in the ballots, place them in drop boxes, submit them at vote centers or cast ballots there. The percentage of total votes tallied has not been released by the county registrar-recorder’s office.

As election results became available Tuesday evening, congratulatory messages for Kamlager started to pour in on social media.

“Congrats to my friend and colleague @sydneykamlager for becoming the next State Senator in #SD30!” Assemblyman Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles) said in a tweet. “She is a fierce fighter for single-payer healthcare, criminal justice and LGBTQ+ equality!”

“Special elections are not easy (believe me), especially when you’re a working mom and running a tough campaign- but it’s over and I’m excited for her to join us on the red carpet!” state Sen. Lena Gonzalez (D-Long Beach) said in a tweet.

Before assuming office in the Assembly in 2018, Kamlager was an elected member of the L.A. Community College District Board of Trustees.

Kamlager will be the only Black woman in the state Senate.

“Representation matters,” Kamlager said in a statement. “We know what happens when we don’t have a seat at the table. Policies and budgets fail us. Having a Black woman — a working mother — in the state Senate is critically important for perspective in the fight for recovery, justice and equity.”

Times staff writer Melanie Mason and City News Service contributed to this report.

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