Kamlager wins race to replace Karen Bass in Congress

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Wave Staff and Wire Reports

LOS ANGELES — Sydney Kamlager has spent most of her life in politics following in the footsteps of county Supervisor Holly Mitchell. Now she is following Karen Bass to Congress.

Kamlager, who won special elections to replace Mitchell in the state Assembly in 2018 and the state Senate in 2021, is ahead of former Los Angeles City Councilwoman Jan Perry in the race to replace Bass representing the 37th Congressional District.

Kamlager topped a field of seven candidates in the June primary to punch her ticket to the general election, while Perry was narrowly besting Culver City Mayor Daniel W. Lee to claim the second spot. But Kamlager jumped to a strong early lead in the vote county Nov. 8 and held it as balloting updates rolled in.

Bass endorsed Kamlager to represent the predominantly Democratic district that stretches from South Los Angeles to Culver City.

Kamlager said she is focused on “expanding voting rights,” “reproductive justice,” “health care for all,” “criminal justice reform focused on diversion, redemption and rehabilitation,” “job creation to create economic justice and opportunities for all communities” and “innovative investment in housing.”

Kamlager was a member of the Los Angeles Community College District Board of Trustees from 2015-18.

She also was endorsed by Gov. Gavin Newsom, Sen. Alex Padilla, Mitchell and fellow Supervisor Sheila Kuehl and Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Burbank.

Perry, also a Democrat, pledged that, if elected, her top priorities as a congresswoman would be “preserving the environment, improving education, stopping an alarming increase in violent crime, expanding access to affordable, quality health care, and ensuring that America pursues a foreign policy that is sane, just, and maintains our strong support for our allies.”

Perry served on the Los Angeles City Council from 2001-13. She unsuccessfully ran for mayor in 2013 after being prohibited from running for re-election and the Second District seat on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors in 2020.

Perry was general manager of the Los Angeles Economic & Workforce Development Department from 2013-2018.

Perry’s endorsements included Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Los Angeles, and former Rep. Diane Watson, D-Los Angeles, who represented the district from 2001-11.

Lola Smallwood-Cuevas is leading in the race to replace Kamlager in the 28th State Senate District.

Smallwood-Cuevas, a Democratic community organizer and educator from Inglewood; was leading Democrat Cheryl Turner, an attorney from Los Angeles, on the district that includes Mar Vista, Palms, Culver City and parts of South Los Angeles.

Isaac Bryan, Reggie Jones-Sawyer, Tina McKinnor and Mike Gipson were on their way to victories in the 55th, 57th, 61st and 65th Assembly districts, respectively.

Several critical races were still undecided with resolution possibly days or weeks away. Los Angeles County officials said Nov. 9 the extended timeline was necessary due to the standard surge of last-minute vote-by-mail ballots received on Election Day.

Following the release of the semi-official vote tally earlier in the day, races including Los Angeles mayor, Los Angeles County sheriff, county supervisor and Los Angeles Unified School District board seats remained too close to call, pending a count of all remaining outstanding ballots.

The delay prompted some frustration at the length of the vote-counting process. The Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk’s Office sought to explain the reasoning behind the delay.

On social media, the office posted a photo of extensive stacks of vote-by-mail ballots that were received from the U.S. Postal Service. The office was also sorting through an undetermined number of such ballots that were submitted at the last minute at drop boxes and vote centers.

“There was — and typically is — a surge of vote-by-mail ballots returned on Election Day — through the mail, at drop boxes and at vote centers,” according to the office. “Much of the work is organizing the volumes of ballots received and establishing estimates responsive to queries.”

The registrar’s office traditionally releases an estimate the day after the election of the number of ballots left to be tallied. That figure was still being determined by the afternoon of Nov. 9.

The county is scheduled to release the next vote-counting update Nov. 11, with subsequent updates each Tuesday and Friday until all ballots are tallied. The schedule means that some close races could hang in the balance for weeks.

Registrar officials also noted that the office will continue to accept ballots in the mail that were postmarked by Nov. 8. They also noted that all of the vote-by-mail ballots must undergo signature-verification to ensure they are valid before they are counted, a process that extends the timeline.

Releasing updates on Tuesdays and Fridays also means that each update will include a larger number of new ballots, making the updates more “substantive” and “leading to more definitive results trends.”

“Simultaneously, legally required post-election canvass activities that include reconciliation, randomly selected manual count auditing of election night returns and contacting voters on signature verification or unsigned ballot issues must be conducted,” according to the registrar’s office. “All of these activities ensure that all valid ballots are processed accurately and completely leading to the certification of the returns.”



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