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Kamlager well ahead in vote for LA County state Senate seat

LOS ANGELES (AP) — California Assemblywoman Sydney Kamlager was comfortably leading with more than two-thirds of the vote Tuesday night in a special election to replace former state Sen. Holly Mitchell, who left in mid-term.

Early election returns showed Kamlager with 67.7% in the seven-candidate field for the 30th Senate District in Los Angeles County. Her closest opponent, Culver City Vice Mayor Daniel Lee, had just 13.5%.

The 30th is the most heavily Democratic district in the state, according to the California Target Book, which tracks legislative races.

If no candidate wins more than half the vote, a special runoff election will be held May 4.

Mitchell and much of the party establishment, including the California Democratic Party, are backing Kamlager, who once was Mitchell’s district director.

Mitchell departed after the November election to join the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.

If Kamlager wins there will be another special election to fill her Assembly seat.

Kamlager faced two fellow Democrats: Lee and trial lawyer Cheryl Turner.

Two Republicans also ran: business consultant Tiffani Jones and businessman Joe Lisuzzo.

Community organizer Ernesto Alexander Huerta ran on the Peace and Freedom Party ticket, while Renita Duncan, a sergeant major in the U.S. Army Reserves, ran as a no-party-preference candidate.

Just under two-thirds of voters in the district are registered Democratic, 23% declined to disclose, and 7% are registered Republican.

The district has the largest African American voting population in the state, according to the Target Book, and includes the center of Los Angeles’ Black community.

Latinos make up a majority of the district’s population but the number of eligible Latino voters has been relatively small.

The district includes central and western Los Angeles County, including Culver City, Ladera Heights, View Park and West Athens, and the Los Angeles neighborhoods of Downtown, South Los Angeles, Crenshaw, Mid-City, Century City, Cheviot Hills and Mar Vista.

Mitchell’s departure has left the 40-member state Senate with 30 Democrats and nine Republicans.

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