Community activist Wendy Carrillo will take office in January when the Assembly begins the second year of a two-year session after defeating fellow Democrat Luis Lopez in a special election to represent the 51st District.
Lopez conceded defeat Tuesday night telling supporters, “It did not happen for us tonight.”
Carrillo defeated Lopez, 52.83 percent-47.17 percent, according to semi- official results released Tuesday by Los Angeles County Registrar- Recorder/County Clerk. Carrillo received 8,811 votes to 7,868 for Lopez, a nonprofit health care director.
Many ballots remain to be counted, with an updated count to be released Friday, Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk Dean C. Logan said. However, they are not expected to change to outcome.
Carrillo, who was brought to the country as an “undocumented immigrant” from El Salvador as a child and became a U.S. citizen in her 20s, was a host and producer on the “Knowledge is Power” radio program on Power 106 FM, discussing topics ranging from access to higher education to political transparency.
She also worked with the Service Employees International Union, supporting organizing efforts by long-term care workers.
“I will never stop fighting for everyone to have a voice in our political system, and will fight to deliver high-wage jobs, affordable housing and improve access to health care while working toward universal health care,” Carrillo told City News Service.
Carrillo finished sixth in a field of 24 candidates in April’s special election in the 34th Congressional District. She said she ran for the Assembly “to be a leader for the people and to advance the values our families care about — opportunity, equality and fairness.”
Carrillo and Lopez topped a 13-candidate field in the Oct. 3 special election, with Carrillo receiving 5,058 votes, 22.2 percent, and Lopez 4,243, 18.6 percent. A runoff was required because no candidate had more than 50 percent of the vote.
The special election was prompted by then-Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez’s election to Congress in a special election June 6.
The district includes Echo Park, Chinatown, Glassell Park, Montecito Heights, Monterey Hills, El Sereno, Highland Park, Mount Washington, Lincoln Heights, City Terrace, Eagle Rock, East Los Angeles and a portion of Silver Lake.
Lopez has been a board member of Planned Parenthood Los Angeles for seven years and is a former president of the Los Angeles East Area Planning Commission.
An East Los Angeles native, Lopez is a former senior consultant at KPMG Consulting, and was an analyst at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
In 2005, he co-founded Honor PAC, a statewide Latina/o LGBT political action committee. He also led the Latino Coalition Against AIDS to promote awareness and prevention of AIDS.