Lead Story Northeast Edition

Gomez to face Ahn in 34th District runoff

LOS ANGELES — Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez will face Los Angeles Planning Commissioner Robert Lee Ahn in the June 6 runoff in the 34th Congressional District.

Gomez, a Democrat from Eagle Rock, led the 24-candidate field with 8,156 votes, 28.14 percent of the vote, with fellow Democrat Ahn second with 5,504 votes, 18.99 percent, according to semi-official results released by the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk.

Maria Cabildo, an economic development director, was third with 9.58 percent of the vote.

Three other Democrats, Sara Hernandez, Arturo Carmona and Wendy Carrillo, received more than five percent of the vote.

Alejandra Campoverdi, who served in the Obama administration, finished 10th with 2.34 percent of the vote.

Because no candidate received more than 50 percent of the vote, a runoff between the top two finishers will be held.

Robert Ahn

“Thank you to the volunteers who have been the backbone of this campaign,” Ahn said on Twitter. “This is your victory.”

Gomez had a similar response to his vote totals on Twitter.

“Last night’s primary win was amazing,” he said. “We couldn’t have done this without you. Now let’s get ready for June 6.”

The special election was prompted by the appointment of then-Rep. Xavier Becerra as attorney general, succeeding Kamala Harris, who was elected to the U.S. Senate.

The district stretches roughly from Koreatown in the west to the Long Beach (710) Freeway in the east and from the Santa Monica (10) Freeway in the south to the Ventura (134) Freeway in the north. It includes downtown Los Angeles, the Westlake district, Highland Park, Eagle Rock, Boyle Heights and Lincoln Heights.

Twenty-three people appeared on the ballot, 19 of them Democrats looking to represent the overwhelmingly Democratic district. Most of the candidates never held elective office, with the exception of Gomez and former Los Angeles Unified School District board member Yolie Flores. Flores finished ninth with 1,027 votes, or 3.54 percent.

Thirteen of the 23 candidates were women.

Michelle Walker, a Democrat and community activist, qualified as a write-in candidate. Her vote total was not immediately available.

Becerra endorsed Gomez, who said he hopes to “continue to build an inclusive and diverse country that values people from all walks of life.”

If Ahn is elected, he will become the first Korean-American elected to Congress in more than 20 years.

Gomez has the backing of most of the Latino political establishment in Los Angeles as well as organized labor.

But Ahn was able to close the gap in campaign contributions, relying heavily on his connections to the Korean community.

The turnout for the special election was dismal, with less than 10 percent of registered voters in the district casting ballots.