Maxim Elramsisy |California Black Media | Nobember 17, 2022
“This is my home, and with my whole heart, I’m ready to serve, and my pledge to you is that we will hit the ground running on Day One,” Los Angeles Mayor-elect, Rep. Karen Bass pledged Nov. 16 after the Associated Press (AP) declared her the projected winner in a tight race for the top job in California’s largest city.
Bass, who has represented the 37th Congressional District of California for 11 years, will be the first woman to lead Los Angeles when she is sworn in on Dec. 12, 2022. She will also be the second Black Angelino to hold the office in a city where 8.8% of residents are Black, according to the U.S. Census.
Before Bass was elected to Congress in 2010, she previously served as a member of the California State Assembly representing the 47th district from 2004 to 2010. From 2008 to 2010 she was the first Black woman to be Assembly speaker.
In the U.S Congress Bass represented West Los Angeles and from 2019 to 2021 served as Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus.
A former Republican turned Democrat, businessman Rick Caruso conceded that Bass had won the election Wednesday evening, just over a week after the polls closed in the deadlocked race that election watchers said until this week had no apparent winner until now.
Caruso told his supporters in a letter “the campaign has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I am so proud of my campaign. We held true to the core values of our family – integrity, honesty, and respect for all.”
A Billionaire real estate developer, Caruso owns residential and retail properties around southern California, including The Grove at Farmers Market in Los Angeles, Americana at Brand in Glendale, and the Commons at Calabasas.
The vote was virtually tied on election day, but each subsequent update to the tally extended the lead for Bass. The counting will continue until every ballot is accounted for, but according to the AP she has accrued an insurmountable lead.
Almost 75% of voters in LA County voted by mail in this election, contributing to some of the delay in announcing a winner.
According to California state law, each mail-in ballot must have its signature verified before it can be counted, and ballots are received for 7 days after the election, so long as they are postmarked by election day.
A record amount of money was spent on the race, with Caruso campaign vastly outspending Bass. The Caruso campaign reported a total expenditure of $104,848,887.43.
Caruso himself contributed almost $98 million to his own campaign, which he spent primarily on advertising.
“Despite being outspent 12 to 1, Congresswoman Karen Bass proved LA voters can’t be bought,” said Kerman Maddox, Finance Committee Chair of Bass 4 Mayor.
Vastly outspent from the start of her candidacy, Bass also won the June 7th primary election.
Bass benefited from endorsements from Democrats at all levels of government, including former President Barack Obama, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, California Senator Alex Padilla and the Los Angeles Democratic Party. One notable holdout was Gov. Gavin Newsom.
Kellie Todd Griffin, Convening Founder of the California Black Women’s Collective – a collective of hundreds of Black women from various professional backgrounds across the state – referenced Bass background as a strong and respected voice for Los Angeles’ African American community.
“This is a victory that we are all vested in because it represents the power of what we can do through community organizing and collaboration,” Griffin said. “Mayor-Elect Bass is the change we need right now to ensure today’s most pressing issues will be addressed in a way that doesn’t leave us behind. We are proud because this a victory for Black Women and our community.”
Bass is well known across Los Angeles for building cross cultural, multiracial coalitions of people and being able to rally them around causes. During the crack epidemic of the 1980s, she was a physician’s assistant and a clinical instructor at the Keck School of Medicine of USC Physician Assistant Program who became a leading voice for victims affected by the highly addictive substance derived from cocaine.
Bass promised that her administration will be inclusive and “will bring everyone to the table.
“The challenges we face affect us all, and all of us must be a part of our solutions,” she said in a prepared statement. “Los Angeles is the greatest city on earth. I know, if we come together, hold each other accountable, and focus on the best of who we are and what we can achieve, we can create better neighborhoods today and a better future for our children.”
California ’22 Election: Black Candidates Running for Statewide Office
Solomon O. Smith | California Black Media | October 30, 2022
There are four Black candidates running for statewide office in California. Three are contenders to win as they fight it out with their opponents in the final days of the election.
Dr. Shirley Nash Weber (D), the incumbent Secretary of State (SOS), is the front-runner in her race against Robert Bernosky (R). Weber was appointed by Gov. Gavin Newsom in December 2020. She is California’s first Black Secretary of State and only the fifth African American to serve as a state constitutional officer in California’s 170-year history.
Since her appointment, Weber has led successful public information campaigns resulting in more Californians going to go to the polls. She conducted a tour of state schools and local communities as part of an ongoing initiative by her office. SOS is the third highest office in California and is responsible for establishing and implementing voting rules as well as the logistics of bringing the vote to a little 20 million voters.
In Weber’s race, she has a lengthy list of supporters and endorsements including: Gov. Gavin Newsom, Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis, State Treasurer Fiona Ma, Controller Betty Yee, Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond, Attorney Gen. Rob Bonta, and Chair of the California State Board of Equalization Malia Cohen. In addition, several papers like the Los Angeles Sentinel, the Los Angeles Times and the San Diego Union Tribune have also endorsed her candidacy.
Her opponent has a bit of a different opinion on the vote, as per his platform which lists “cleaning up” California’s voter rolls as number three on his to-do list. Many claimed that illegal immigrants were scattered throughout the voting rolls of Western states, all of which has been debunked by fact checkers like PolitiFact.
Tony Thurmond, a student of the public education system and a graduate of the foster youth system, is running for a second term as Superintendent for Public Instruction (SPI). Thurmond attributes the lag in the performance of Californian students to insufficient funding, an opinion which the teachers’ unions support.
“I’m honored to be supported by teachers. I’m in a race where I am supported by teachers and my opponent is supported by billionaires,” Thurmond said.
Although Thurmond is a favorite to retain his office, he has gotten some criticisms about how he handled public schools during the pandemic. Those angry about the school closures blame Thurmond and some studies show that children may have been held back academically by the shutdowns, particularly children of color.
Thurmond’s opponent, Lance Christensen, works for a California Policy Center, a right-leaning think tank. Christensen’s push for more control for parents and local communities is in line with Republican policies. SPI is a non-partisan elected position.
Christensen has called out teachers for “indoctrinating” children and has endorsed many right-wing views. “I’m a religious
person, I’m a conservative, I don’t make any bones about that,” he said. “I don’t try to excuse it. I don’t hide it.”
Thurmond says that he wants to invest more in education, at least an amount that is commensurate with California’s standing as the fifth wealthiest economy in the world. His opponent is focused on removing bad teachers and giving parents more control.
Although Thurmond is the favorite and garnered a larger share of the vote during the June primary, Christensen appeals to some parents and his right-leaning language about school choice could make Thurmond’s race more difficult in some conservative areas.
The race for state controller is a bit more complicated. The previous occupant of the position, Betty Yee, a Democrat has termed out of her position. Malia Cohen is the Democratic choice to replace Yee. Cohen has dedicated her career in public service focused on making public dollars work for all Californians, her campaign says.
Her opponent Lanhee Chen (R) is a self-described “conservative in the vein of Mitt Romney.”
In the primary, Cohen placed second, behind Republican Yee, 36.9% to 26.8%. However, the electorate favors Cohen in November. 46.8% of voters are registered Democrats while just 23.9 % of voters are registered Republican. The LA Times refers to this as the only open race this year.
Chen has been an aggressive underdog in the race attacking Cohen on several issues. To date, Cohen has yet to directly debate Chen, who taunted her on Twitter with images of herself, alone, on the debate stage.
Angela Underwood Jacobs is vying to be the first Black woman to serve as Lt. Gov of California. She is a Republican.
Underwood’s experience includes service as deputy mayor of Lancaster where she was the first Black woman on the city council. Jacobs received 19.9% of the vote in the primaries, a distant second to incumbent Eleni Kounalakis’ 52.7%. Her platform includes many of the conventional Republican issues like smaller government and less regulation, but there are also some differences.
Her brother Dave Patrick Underwood, a federal security officer in Oakland, was shot and killed by a member of a far-right extremist group called the Bugaloo Bois — some members of the organization reportedly participated in the January 6 riots at the U.S. Capitol. Jacobs sued Facebook for promoting and facilitating the activities of these types of groups. Jacobs’ “Make California Gold Again” motto, is emblematic of her mildly Trumpian platform.
CA Black Women Leaders on Nov Election Ballot
Antonio Ray Harvey | California Black Media | June 15, 2022
Black women running for political office on every level across the state of California showed up strong during the state’s June 7 primary election. They won the minds and the hearts of diverse groups of Californians and drew the numbers they needed to secure spots on the November general election ballot.
The results, some political organizers say, signal that Black women are fully engaged in California’s political process, and they are primed to succeed against stiff competition ahead.
“The June 7 primary election was another demonstration of the consistency of Black Women in the political process,” said Kellie Todd, founding convener of the Black Women’s Collective (BWC), an organization of Black women leaders and advocates working in politics, business, entertainment, health care and other professions across the state.
“And this time we didn’t just show up to cast our votes, we were on the ballot at every level, in diverse communities throughout that state,” Griffin pointed out.
After 168,338 mail-in ballots were counted after June 7, U.S. Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA-37) closed the gap against her better-funded, billionaire opponent Rick Caruso in the Los Angeles mayor’s race, according to results released June 10 by the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk.
Caruso leads with 155,929 votes (40.5%) to Bass’s 149,104 (38.8%), according to the latest vote count released June 11 by Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk. More than 500,000 votes remain uncounted, and ballots postmarked by election day will be accepted through June 14.
In statewide races, California Secretary of State Shirley Weber has 2,631,686 votes (59.2%) so far. She will face Republican Rob Bernosky in the general election in November. As of June 12, Bernosky is currently in a distant second place behind Weber with 848,373 votes (19.1%).
Malia Cohen, a current member of the State Board of Equalization, has won 21.3% of votes (973,549) in the race for State Controller, enough to land her in second place and secure a place on the ballot in the November General Election.
Cohen will face Lanhee Chen, the only Republican in a six-person race to replace California Controller Betty Yee. Chen leads the race in the primary election with 38.8% of counted votes (1,534,620).
Black Californians represented 26.9% of all candidates on the June 7 primary ballots running for U.S. House seats, a significant showing in a state where there are 2.6 million African Americans.
For the 37th Congressional District seat, currently held by Bass, former Los Angeles City Councilmember Jan Perry came in second place with 10,520 votes (18.6%). State Sen. Sydney Kamlager (D-Los Angeles) led the field of seven candidates with 24,354 (43.0%), according to election results
released by the Secretary of State’s office on June 11.
U.S. Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA-13) has secured a comfortable lead in her reelection bid. She is ahead with 73,038 votes (86.3%) to Republican challenger Stephen Slauson’s 5,272 (6.2%). Lee and Slauson are likely to move on to the general election.
Republican Ronda Kennedy, a civil rights attorney running to represent the 30th Congressional District 30 (Burbank), is currently in third place (9,290) behind Democrat G “Maebe A. Girl” Pudlo (10,153). Either Kennedy or Pudlo will face leader Adam Schiff (D-San Diego) in November, Schiff has a commanding lead with 60,658 votes, according to the SOS office.
In the race to represent the 43rd Congressional District, longtime incumbent Maxine Waters (D-Los Angeles) leads Republican Omar Navarro by a wide margin of 33,801 votes to 5,949.
Black Republican Tamika Hamilton could face incumbent Ami Bera (D-Elk Grove) for the District
6 congressional seat in Sacramento and Yolo counties.
Two months after winning the special election for the 11th District Assembly seat, Lori Wilson (D-Suisun City) came out ahead in the primary with 64.9% (48,657 votes). She leads Independent challenger Jenny Lailani Callison, who has 35.1% of votes counted so far (26,349).
“We proved that Black Women candidates can be competitive and can also win even without large financial backing from special interests,” Todd said. “This is just the beginning as we continue to build our political power and ensure we have a strong cohort of elected officials ready to serve.”
In another state race involving a Black woman, Contra Costa District Attorney Diana Becton declared victory in the race for the county’s chief law enforcement officer.
In State Assembly races, Assemblymember Akilah Weber (D-San Diego) is positioned to retain her seat representing the 79th District with 63.9% (30,005
votes). In the 18th Assembly District in Oakland, Assemblymember Mia Bonta, the only candidate on the ballot, won 100 % of the vote (36,226).
In the Assembly special election race to fill the Assembly District 62 seat that opened when Autumn Burke (D) resigned earlier this year, Tina Simone McKinnor (D), is in the lead with 51.6% (18,528) of the vote. She is ahead of her opponent Robert Pullen-Miles who has 48.4% of the vote (17,374 votes). In the primary race for the Assembly 61st District seat McKinnor has 30.1% of the vote (11,502 votes) and trails in second place behind Pullen-Miles who has 38.2% of the vote (14,600).
In the State Senate race for the 28th District, two Black women are leading in the primary to succeed Sen. Sydney Kamlager (D-Los Angeles). With 40.9% of the vote (33,687 votes), Lola Smallwood-Cuevas (D) is ahead of Cheryl C. Turner (D), who is in second place with 31.0% (25,508 Votes).
California Primary ’22: Black Candidates Advancing to the Nov. General
Election Jow W. Bower Jr. California Black Media | June 12, 2022
(CBM) – Polls closed for in-person voting at 8 p.m. on June 7, the final day of the Statewide Direct Primary Election.
Vote-by-Mail ballots must be postmarked by the US Postal Service on or before June 7 and received no later than seven days after Election Day to be counted. The last day for county elections officials to certify election results is July 7.
he top two vote-getters in the primaries regardless of political affiliation advance to the November Election — whether one candidate receives the majority of the votes cast in the primary election. Only candidates running for State Superintendent of Public Instruction or candidates for voter-nominated offices in special elections can win outright by getting a majority of the vote (over 50 %) in the primary election.
County elections officials will be conducting the semifinal official canvass of votes at least every two hours until completed and providing the results to the Secretary of State.
Preliminary results are available for the 145 statewide elections being held to fill state and federal offices.
California Black Media (CBM) reports that 68 Black candidates are running in 45 of the elections. That is 31% of the races. Blacks make up 5.8% of California’s population.
This is a list of statewide races and Black candidates running.
Governor – Gavin Newsom (D) is projected to advance to the November General election and will face Brian Dahle (R). Black candidates failing to advance were Shawn Collins (R) in 6th place, Major Williams (R) in 8th place, Woodrow “Woody” Sanders III (No Party Preference) in 23rd place and Serge Fiankan (No Party Preference) in 26th place.
Lt. Governor – Angela E. Underwood Jacobs (R) is in second place and should advance to face incumbent Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis in November.
Secretary of State – Incumbent Dr. Shirley Weber (D) the only Black candidate in the contest is leading by a wide margin over six opponents.
State Controller – Malia Cohen (D) the first African American woman to serve on the board of Equalization is running in second place behind Lanhee Chen (R).
Superintendent of Public Instruction – Incumbent Tony Thurmond has an overwhelming lead over his six opponents. He is below the 50% majority to win outright. Ainye E. Long, the other Black candidate is in second place but has a very narrow lead over the 3rd place and 4th place candidates.
California Insurance Commissioner – Incumbent Ricardo Lara (D) leads his eight challengers. His Black opponents are Vinson Eugene Allen (D) in 5th place, Jasper “Jay” Jackson (D) in 7th place and Veronika Fimbres (Green Party) running 8th.
US Senator – Two separate US Senate contests are on the ballot. One is the regular election for the full six-year term beginning January 3, 2023. The other is a special vacancy election, to complete the unexpired Senate term of Vice President Kamala Harris. Sen. Alex Padilla (D) who was chosen by Gov. Newsom to replace Harris leads the vote in both contests.
In the full-term contest, Padilla is ahead of 22 opponents. Black candidates not advancing to the November ballot are John Thompson Parker, (Peace and Freedom Party) running in 9th place, Akinyemi Agbede (D) in 11th place, Myron L. Hall (R) running 12th, Daphne Bradford, (No Party Preference) is 23rd and Deon D. Jenkins (No Party Preference) is 26th.
Candidates Hall is running 7th and Bradford is running 8th in the partial/unexpired term contest.
The Black candidates running for 17 US House seats are:
District 3 (Yuba) - Kermit Jones (D) is ahead of three other opponents and will advance to the General Election. This district leans Republican.
District 4 (Napa) - Jimih L. Jones (R) is running in 5th place. Rep. Mike Thompson (D) is leading in this race.
District 6 (Fair Oaks) - Tamika Hamilton (R) is in second place. Karla Black (R) is running 6th. This is a solid Democratic district. Rep. Ami Bera (D) is leading in this race.
District 8 (Vallejo) – Cheryl Sudduth (D) is running a distant 3rd. Rep. John Garamendi (D), a current member of Congress, is leading in this race.
District 9 (Stockton) – Jonathan Madison (R) is in 5th place. This congressional district leans Democratic. Josh Harder (D), a current member of Congress, is leading in this race.
District 12 (Oakland) – Barbara Lee (D) a current member of Congress representing District 13 (Oakland) is leading. Democrat Eric Wilson (D) is in 4th place.
District 25 (Riverside) – Brian E. Hawkins (R) is running second to Rep. Raul Ruiz (D). This is a solid Democratic district.
District 27 (Santa Clarita) – Quaye Quartey (D) is in 3rd place. Rep. Mike Garcia (R) is leading in this race.
District 30 (Burbank) - Ronda Kennedy (R) is in second place with a narrow lead over G “Maebe A. Girl” Pudio. Rep. Adam Schiff (D) is leading in this race.
District 32 (Sherman Oaks) – Aarika Samone Rhodes (D) is in 5th place. Rep. Brad Sherman (D) is leading in this race.
District 36 (Torrance) – Joe E. Collins III (R) is running second to. Rep. Ted W. Lieu (D). This is a solid Democratic district
District 37 (Los Angeles) – Sydney Kamlager (D) is in the lead. Jan C. Perry (D) is in second place and Daniel W. Lee (D) is running 3rd. Rep. Karen Bass (D) currently represents this district.
District 39 (Moreno Valley) – Aja Smith (R) is running second to Rep. Mark Takano (D). This is a solid Democratic district.
District 42 (Long Beach) – William Moses Summerville (D) is in 7th place. No current member of Congress was on the ballot for this race.
District 43 (Los Angeles) – Incumbent Maxine Waters (D) is in the lead. Allison Pratt (R) is in 3rd place and Jean M. Monestime (D) is running in fourth place.
District 44 (San Pedro) – Morris Falls Griffin (D) is in third place. Nanette Diaz Barragan (D), a current member of congress, is leading in this race.
District 49 (Carlsbad) – Nadia Bahia Smalley (D) is in 6th place. Mike Levin (D), a current member of Congress, is leading in this race.
Black candidates running for two State Senate seats are:
Senate District 16 (Bakersfield) – Gregory Tatum (R) is in 4th place. This a new district predicted to be a tossup for the Republicans and Democrats on the ballot.
Senate District 28 (Los Angeles) – Lola Smallwood-Cuevas (D) is in the lead. Cheryl C. Turner (D) is in second place. Kamilah Victoria Moore (D) is running 4th and Jamaal A. Gulledge (D) is in 5th place.
Black candidates running for 19 State Assembly seats are:
District 6 (Sacramento) – Incumbent Kevin McCarty (D) is the vote leader and will be advancing to the November General Election.
Assembly District 10 (Elk Grove) – Eric M. Rigard (R) is in third place and Tecoy Porter (D) is running 4th. This is a solid Democratic district. No incumbent was on the ballot.
Assembly District 11 (Vallejo) – Incumbent Lori D. Wilson (D) is the vote leader advancing to the November General Election. This is a solid Democratic district.
Assembly District 12 (Marin) – Ida Times-Green (D) is in 4th place. This is a solid Democratic district. No incumbent was on the ballot.
Assembly District 18 (Oakland) – Incumbent Mia Bonta (D) ran unopposed for re-election.
Assembly District 20 (Alameda) – Jennifer Esteen (D) is in 4th place. Her opponents are two Democrats and a Republican. No incumbent was on the ballot.
Assembly District 21 (San Mateo) – Maurice Goodman (D) is running in 6th place. He ran against
five Democrats and a Republican. This is a solid Democratic district. No incumbent was on the ballot.
Assembly District 30 (San Luis Obispo) – Jon Wizard (D) is in 3rd place. He ran against three Democrats and a Republican. This is a solid Democratic district. No incumbent is on the ballot.
Assembly District 36 (Imperial) – Marlon G. Ware (D) is in a distance 3rd place. He is unlikely to advance to the November ballot.
Assembly District 39 (Palmdale) – Andrea Rosenthal (D) is in 3rd place. She had one Republican and two Democratic rivals. This is a solid Democratic district. No incumbent was on the ballot.
Assembly District 41 (Pasadena) – Incumbent Chris Holden (D) ran for re-election unopposed.
Assembly District 47 (Palm Springs) – Jamie Swain (D) is in 4th place. She is unlikely to advance to the November ballot.
Assembly District 55 (Los Angeles) – Incumbent Isaac G. Bryan (D) is in the lead. He will advance to the November General Election.
Assembly District 57 (Los Angeles) – Reggie Jones-Sawyer (D) ran unopposed for re-election.
Assembly District 60 (Moreno Valley) – Corey A Jackson (D) is in second place. He has three opponents. This is a solid Democratic district. No incumbent was on the ballot.
Assembly District 61 (Inglewood) – Robert Pullen-Miles (D) is leading this race. Tina Simone McKinnor (D) is in second place and James Arlandus Spencer (R) is running 3rd. This is a solid Democratic district. No incumbent was on the ballot.
In a special election to fill Assembly District 62 seat opened when Autumn Burke (D) resigned, McKinnor is leading Pullen-Miles.
Assembly District 65 (Compton) – Incumbent Mike Anthony Gipson (D) is leading in his re-election bid.
Assembly District 69 (Long Beach) – Al Austin II (D) is running in 2nd place and Janet Denise Foster(D) is in 3rd place. Four Democratic candidates are running for the seat. No incumbent was on the ballot.