By Alfredo Santana
LOS ANGELES — In their bid to become the new representative for the 64th Assembly District, Republican Raul Ortiz Jr. and Downey Mayor Blanca Pacheco will face each other in the runoff Nov. 8.
Ortiz, a pest control manager, a Christian preacher and La Mirada resident, obtained 33% of the votes compared to Pacheco’s 25.66%. Pacheco finished ahead of Cudahy Mayor Elizabeth Alcantar, who garnered 15.28%.
According to California laws, the two leading contenders for state and federal offices will battle again in the general election.
Alcantar finished third, followed by Norwalk City Councilwoman Ana Valencia, Robert “Rob” Cancio and Rose Espinoza summed 2,027.
The seat is being vacated by Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia, who ran for the 42nd Congressional District.
The splintered vote among the five vying Democrats resulted in Ortiz’s primary victory, a scenario that will be much harder to repeat in November in a district where more than half of voters are Latinos registered as Democrats.
Pacheco thanked her team of backers, volunteers and voters and said she will run a robust campaign highlighting her record delivering results and the issues that matter to residents of the district, such as a strong local economy, affordable housing and running safe communities.
“I look forward to rolling up my sleeves to get to work expanding my coalition and earning the support of people across Assembly District 64 as we enter the general election,” she said.
The district’s new boundaries include the cities of Downey, Bell Gardens, Cudahy, La Habra, La Mirada, South Whittier, Santa Fe Springs and Norwalk.
Ortiz, her GOP opponent, advocates for suspending the gas tax of 51 cents per gallon to rein in on inflation, and for the repeal of Proposition 47, a state law that reclassified felonies such as thefts and drug possessions into misdemeanors and allowed convicted felons to petition reclassification of those felonies into misdemeanors.
He also called for refunding police departments and for the end of abortions protected by the federal and state governments.
“We will make California business friendly again and attract a new gold rush of businesses coming back to the Golden State,” he wrote on his campaign website.
Meanwhile, Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia and Orange County Republican John Briscoe are headed to a runoff for the newly created 42nd Congressional District. Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia, D-Bell Gardens, finished third in the primary.
Robert Garcia, a Democrat, held a commanding lead in the race, with 45.84% of the votes compared to Briscoe’s 27.73%.
Following the redistricting based on population changes recorded in the 2020 U.S. Census, the 42nd Congressional District was formed blending the former 40th and 47th districts.
Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard had represented the 40th District, a large urban swath in Southeast Los Angeles that stretched from Boyle Heights to Downey, while Alan Lowenthal’s 47th District covered Long Beach and parts of Orange County. Both incumbents announced they will retire at the end of their current terms.
A roundup of local city council races show that Commerce’s Mireya Garcia obtained 641 votes, while Kevin Lainez racked 549 to be elected as new members, while incumbent Councilman Ivan Altamirano won reelection with 536 votes.
In Huntington Park, council members Karina Macias and Manuel “Manny” Avila successfully ran reelection bids, with the first garnering 1,651 votes and the second 1,413.
Paramount voters reelected Councilwoman Peggy Lemon for her seventh four-year term with 768 votes, and picked newcomer Annette Delgadillo with 632 votes to her first council stint.
In Lynwood, voters approved Measure R with 63.81% of the ballots cast. The ordinance limits city council members to three-four year terms.