December 5, 2013 |

Ridley-Thomas Wins Assembly Seat

Voter Turnout under 7%

By Stephen Hadland

Observer Publisher

In an election where no one was surprised Sebastian Ridley-Thomas won election to the state assembly for the 54th district on Tuesday. The district includes Culver City.

Ridley-Thomas crushed his two opponents, garnering over 60 percent of the votes cast. Former Culver City Mayor and Councilman Christopher Armenta came in a distant second with 36 percent and political unknown John Jake had four percent.

Voter turnout was an abysmal 6.8 percent with less than 19,000 of the 274,000 voters in the district going to the polls.

Ridley-Thomas takes the seat vacated by State Senator Holly Mitchell when she was elected to the state senate in September.

The race was lopsided from the start with the victor's father, County Board of Supervisors Chairman Mark Ridley-Thomas putting his political muscle to work helping to raise close to $650,000 and collecting endorsements throughout the state.

Armenta was clearly outclassed from the start, collecting few endorsements and little in campaign funds.

Ridley-Thomas, on the other hand, spent nearly $60 for each vote he received.

Armenta, whose campaign failed to achieve any traction, charged Sebastian's father with helping to time the election during the Jewish holiday of Chanukah. The setting of the election date is mandated by state law with the actual date set by the Governor. Neither the county supervisors nor the county clerk, who runs the election, has any say in the date the election will be held.

The election has consequence at the state level where Ridley-Thomas' election cements the two-thirds majority the Democrats hold in the assembly, thereby allowing them to conduct business without any Republican votes.

Ridley-Thomas served as Senior Deputy to Los Angeles City Councilman Curren Price and prior to that was Price's Police Director when Price was in the state senate.

Since the advent of term limits, special elections have become the norm throughout California as politicians jockey from one office to another to avoid being termed out and losing a seat in what has become a game resembling musical chairs.

Candidate Votes Percentage

Sebastian Ridley-Thomas 11,182 60.02

Christopher R. Armenta 6,706 35.99

John Jake 744 3.99

Total Precincts 168 Precincts Reporting 168 100

Election Statistics

Total Precincts 168 Precincts Reporting 168 100

Registration 274,091

Vote By Mail 11,351

Total Ballots Cast 18,838

Percentage Turnout 6.87

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