Ex-Assemblyman Isadore Hall elected to replace Rod Wright in Senate

Ex-Assemblyman Isadore Hall elected to replace Rod Wright in Senate
Isadore Hall III, left, is sworn into office by Compton Superior Court Judge Kelvin Filer while Hall's mother, Dorothy Vann, watches. Hall was elected to serve the remainder of Roderick Wright's term in the state Senate. (Associated Press)

SACRAMENTO — Former Assemblyman Isadore Hall III (D-Compton) has filled the vacancy created by Roderick Wright's resignation from the California Senate.

Hall won about 55% of the vote in a special election in Wright's Inglewood-area district on Tuesday, defeating three other candidates. He was sworn into the Senate on Wednesday at Compton Superior Court by Judge Kelvin Filer.

He will also have a formal swearing-in by Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon (D-Los Angeles) in the state Capitol on Jan. 5, the first day of the new legislative session. Hall won the right to serve out the remainder of Wright's term, which ends in December 2016.

Wright quit in October, after he was sentenced to 90 days in jail on conviction of felony voter fraud and perjury for lying about living in his district. He has not served any jail time because of overcrowding.

Hall said Tuesday that he was "humbled and sincerely thankful for the confidence placed in me by voters" and promised to continue the work he did during six years in the Assembly.

On Wednesday, he said he was "more determined than ever to continue focusing on local neighborhood quality-of-life issues: creating more good jobs, improving our schools, expanding access to healthcare and keeping our communities safe."

Hall spent $478,000 on his campaign, including television commercials and mailers, and had endorsements from the California Democratic Party and Gov. Jerry Brown.

He defeated Republican James Spencer, an Inglewood businessman, who placed second in the election with 25.9% of the vote; Democrat Louis L. Dominguez of San Pedro, who won 12.5%; and Democrat Hector Serrano of Wilmington, who garnered 6.5%.

Some provisional ballots remain to be counted before the election results are made official.

Competing candidates criticized Hall during the campaign, saying he spent campaign funds lavishly on expensive meals, cigars, limousines and travel to exotic resorts. He was out of touch with the largely working-class residents of the district, his rivals said.

The 35th Senate District includes the communities of Carson, Compton, West Compton, Gardena, Harbor City, Hawthorne, Lawndale, Lennox, San Pedro, West Carson, Watts, Willowbrook, Wilmington and parts of Long Beach, Los Angeles, Inglewood and Torrance.

Hall, 43, left the Assembly last month because of term limits. In his quest for Wright's seat, he said his priorities in the Senate would be bringing "clean and green jobs" to his district and opposing a proposed tuition increase in the University of California system.

"I think we need to look at the salaries we are paying our [university] CEOs before we start talking about increasing tuition for our most vulnerable population that is in college right now," he said.

Three more special elections will be held in coming weeks to replace senators who were elected to Congress in November: Mimi Walters (R-Irvine), Steve Knight (R-Palmdale) and Mark DeSaulnier (D-Concord).

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