By Emilie St. John
Lawndale Mayor Robert Pullen-Miles has withdrawn from the 61st Assembly District race, posting on his social media sites that he was no longer “actively competing” for the Assembly seat.
The action means Assemblywoman Tina McKinnor will retain her seat in the Assembly after winning a special election in June to replace Assemblywoman Autumn Burke in the 62nd District. Burke resigned in February to take a position with a governmental affairs firm.
McKinnor defeated Pullen-Miles in that special election, which was held in conjunction with the June primary in which McKinnor and Pullen-Miles finished first and second in the 61st District primary.
Pullen-Miles could not be reached for comment.
McKinnor, however, reported she was happy to share he had endorsed her campaign, indicating he has dropped out of the Assembly race to focus on being reelected as mayor of Lawndale.
“Robert and I have been friends and colleagues for years,” McKinnor said. “This was a tough race but now it is time to work together.
“I am proud to endorse Robert in his re-election for mayor of Lawndale, and he has endorsed me for re-election to the Assembly.”
Reapportionment changed the borders of the district as well as the district’s number.
The new boundaries moved the district farther north into Los Angeles’ westside covering Venice, and into South L.A. into part of Los Angeles Councilman Marqueece Harris-Dawson’s 8th District. The district no longer includes the city of El Segundo.
A reporter asked McKinnor’s campaign if voters might be confused by the change in districts.
“I really believe that we are past the confusion of the first six months of the year,” said Jacque Robinson-Baisley, communications director for McKinnor’s campaign. “The special election in April and the two elections in June were a lot to explain to voters.”
Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts Jr. and Councilwoman Dionne Faulk are supporting McKinnor.
McKinnor has hit the ground running having her first bill, AB 1743 signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom, which will require local governments, including Inglewood, to annually report how many units of new housing were actually constructed and occupied, not just permitted.
“This information will be critical in helping local and state governments determine the effectiveness of various housing programs and will guide future policy decisions on how to further address the housing and homelessness crisis,” McKinnor said.
McKinnor has wide range support across the state of California including state and local legislators, labor unions and grassroots activists.
Voters will begin receiving vote-by-mail ballots the week of Oct. 10, which must be postmarked by Election Day, Nov. 8, to ensure they are counted.
The 61st Assembly District covers the cities of Gardena, Hawthorne, Inglewood and Lawndale and the communities of Lennox, Marina del Rey, Venice, West Athens, Westchester and Westmont.
Emilie St. John is a freelance journalist covering the areas of Carson, Compton, Inglewood and Willowbrook. Send tips to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.