For the First Time, Calif. AD-53 Will Not Be Decided in June

The race for the Assembly District 53 in Los Angeles doesn’t appear that it will be much of a race at all despite the appearance of four candidates on the ballot this coming Tuesday.

AD-53 is a heavily Democratic district with over 58 percent of voters registered as Democrats, 18 percent registered as Decline to State, and only 10 percent registered as Republicans.

Prior to the implementation of the top-two primary, this was a district consistently won in a landslide by any Democrat who could prevail in the Democratic primary election. Even after the implementation of electoral reform, the trend continues.

During the 2012 election, Democrat John A. Perez prevailed with over 80 percent of the vote during the general election despite only receiving a little over 10,000 votes in the primary election.

This year, however, the race for the 53rd district includes four Democrats — Community organizer and veteran Mike Aldapa, Pico Union educator Sandra Mendoza, Los Angles Community College board member Miguel Santiago, and evangelist Michelle “Hope” Walker.

Santiago seems to be the clear frontrunner with the endorsement of his current employer, former Assembly Speaker John A. Perez, the Democratic Party, as well as a long list of elected officials, community organizations, and labor unions who have supported his campaign. Mendoza is the only other candidate with a website. However, there is no indication that she has received any significant endorsements.

In addition, Santiago has raised over half a million dollars for his campaign while no other candidate has raised any significant amount of campaign funds.

“I knew going in, I was the underdog in this race,” Mendoza said. “I am taking a stance for the community against the status quo that leaves good people out. I’m very proud of my all volunteer team and it feels good for voters to have a choice.”

Editor’s note: The author reached out to Miguel Santiago’s campaign for comment. His campaign responded by saying that they are working hard and taking nothing for granted. The author is waiting on an interview with the candidate.

Photo Credit: Ho John Lee / Flickr