Assemblyman Sebastian Ridley – Thomas Resigns
Governor to Call Special Election
January 4, 2018
Assemblyman Sebastian Ridley Thomas whose 54th Assembly district includes Culver City announced last week that he was resigning his seat effective December 31 due to undisclosed health issues. He had previously taken a two-week medical leave on March 7th of last year.
Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. will have 14 days in which to call for the special election for the vacated seat. According to Kevin Liao, Press Secretary for California State Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon
In a press release issued by his office Ridley-Thomas stated, "While it has been a great honor to serve as a member of the California State Assembly for the past four years I have decided to resign from my post effective December 31, 2017.
"The reason for this difficult decision is that I am facing persistent health issues. On December 18th I underwent surgery for the fifth time this year. Although I expect a full recovery, my physicians advise that I will need an extended period of time to recuperate.
"Accordingly, I submitted my letter of resignation to Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon late yesterday. I did so with great reluctance, but even greater respect for the office, which involves constant travel, an unrelenting schedule and high stress. Unfortunately, at this point, I am no longer able to deliver the effort my constituents in the 54th District deserve. Consequently, I am also terminating my reelection campaign.
"When I resume public life I intend to remain active in civic affairs, where my passion lies. Following recuperation, I will return to the work of political empowerment, millennial civic engagement, and inspiring the next generation of leaders.
"I am grateful to have worked with some incredible colleagues -- men and women of strong conscience and determination to keep California moving forward. My hope is that, in this next chapter of public life, I can help ensure that African-Americans, millennials, and all Angelenos have a strong and vibrant voice in shaping the future of the Golden State."
Brian Ferguson Deputy Press Secretary in the Office of Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. advised the Observer that under Government Code section 1773, the Governor has 14 calendar days to issue a proclamation setting the election date following a seat being formally vacated. The timeline for special elections is set forth in Elections Code 10703:
"(a) A special election to fill a vacancy in the office of Representative in Congress, State Senator, or Member of the Assembly shall be conducted on a Tuesday at least 126 days, but not more than 140 days, following the issuance of an election proclamation by the Governor pursuant to Section 1773 of the Government Code, except that the special election may be conducted within 180 days following the proclamation in order that the election or the primary election may be consolidated with the next regularly scheduled statewide election or local election occurring wholly or partially within the same territory in which the vacancy exists, provided that the voters eligible to vote in the local election comprise at least 50 percent of all the voters eligible to vote on the vacancy."
The Governor may well time the special election to coincide with California's primary election scheduled for June 5. He will have to issue the proclamation this Friday January 5 according to the speaker's office.
The staff members of the 54th district will continue to handle the various issues of residents and businesses in the district. The speaker's office stated that most but not all of the staff will be retained.
Ridley-Thomas was considered to be a leading candidate to replace his father County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas when the elder Ridley Thomas terms out in 2012.