Next Month's Special Elections-- California & Pennsylvania

Dallas Fowler, Heather Hutt, and Isaac Bryan

The May 18th primary for the open L.A. Assembly seat (district 54, which includes Culver City, Palms, Madera Heights, Baldwin Hills Century City, Westwood, West L.A., Leimert Park, Mar Vista, and other neighborhoods) is between Democrats. (Sydney Kamlager resigned and is now serving in the state Senate.) The Republicans don't bother fielding candidates in deep blue districts like this Obama, Hillary and Biden all scored over 80% of the vote. The last time a Republican ran (2020 jungle primary, he scored 9.5% and failed to advance to the general election.) The party registration is:

  • Democrats- 63.7%

  • independents- 22.9%

  • Republicans- 8.7%

The ethnic breakdown is:

  • Latino- 30.5%

  • White- 29.4%

  • Black- 25.2%

  • Asian- 12.7%

The top 3 candidates are all Black: Isaac Bryan, the director of public policy at UCLA's center for African American Studies; Heather Hutt, the former state director for Kamala Harris; and Dallas Fowler, a businesswoman. The top 2 candidates will proceed to a July runoff. As far as I've been able to figure out, Isaac is the best, Dallas is OK and Hutt is what you would expect of an establishment insider-- not progressive, bad on the environment... someone to avoid.

Also on May 18, Pennsylvania has 4 legislative races House districts 59 and 60 and Senate districts 22 and 48. Right now, the gerrymandered districts have given the GOP a hold on each chamber (111 members in the 203-seat House and 28 members of the 50-seat Senate). Even if the Democrats swept all 4 seats, they wouldn't flip the chambers... but it's a much-needed start. Both House seats and one of the Senate seats are pretty red.

The red Senate seat (SD-48) includes all of Lebanon County and parts of York and Dauphin counties). It has never elected a Democrat. The incumbent, Dave Arnold (R) died in January right after being elected in a special election to fill the seat of Republican Mike Folmer who was first elected in 2007 and resigned last September after being arrested for possession of child pornography. The Republican candidate is Chris Gebhard, a businessman and the Democrat is retired veterinarian Calvin Clements. There are 2 others on the ballot, a Libertarian and former state Rep. Ed Krebs (who was elected as a Democrat and then flipped to the GOP).

The 22nd Senate district is a blue working class district stretching across Lackawanna, Luzerne, and Monroe counties. The incumbent, John Blake (D), resigned to go to work on economic initiatives for Matt Cartwright's congressional office. State Rep Marty Flynn is the Democratic nominee and Dominic Mastri is the GOP candidate.

HD-59 is a 98% white, blood red district in the politically-blighted southwest of the state, parts of Westmoreland and Somerset counties. Mike Reese was first elected in 2009 and died of COVID-complications in January (age 42) after working tirelessly in the legislature to deny COVID's existence. The GOP nominee, Leslie Rossi, is a demonstrably mentally ill Trumpist with8 children who turned her house in Latrobe into a gaudy Trump shrine. The Democrat in the race is Mariah Fisher, a member of the Ligonier Borough Council.

HD-60 is just north of HD-59 and just as red, voters living in Armstrong, Butler and Indiana counties. Incumbent Jeff Pyle, an obsessive transphobic asshole, who was first elected in 2005, retired after suffering a stroke last year. His chief-of-staff, Abby Major, is the GOP nominee. The Democrats are running Frank Prazenica Jr., a retired superintendent of schools. A 22 year old Libertarian will also be on the ballot.