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Wendy Carrillo and Luis López appear to advance in Assembly special election in Los Angeles

Wendy Carrillo, pictured here in 2013, was the leading vote-getter in a special election for an Assembly seat. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)
Wendy Carrillo, pictured here in 2013, was the leading vote-getter in a special election for an Assembly seat. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

It appears Wendy Carrillo and Luis López will advance to the runoff in the special election for a state Assembly seat after receiving the most votes in Tuesday's primary. 

The candidates, both Democrats, emerged from a crowded field of 13 hopefuls seeking to represent Assembly District 51 in Los Angeles. Over the next several days officials will count the final ballots sent via mail, so the vote could change.

The special election was held to replace Jimmy Gomez, elected to Congress after Rep. Xavier Becerra was named attorney general. 

Carrillo, a former local radio host and communications manager for a Service Employees International Union affiliate, received the most votes on Tuesday, finishing with 21%. The union she used to work for spent more than $314,000 to support her candidacy with mailers and canvassing.

López, a Planned Parenthood board member who ran for the seat in 2012, finished second with 19.1% of the vote.

Mike Fong, a member of the Los Angeles Community College District Board who previously worked as a City Hall liaison for East L.A. neighborhoods, came in third with 16.6% of the vote. 

The margins between the candidates were just a few hundred votes, which is why the result could shift.

The California Democratic Party did not endorse a candidate in the primary, but Chair Eric Bauman said he was excited by the deep field.

As ballots were being cast, he said he expected the candidates with the best ground-level operation would win the day.

"In a community that’s used to having elected officials who are truly retail politicians, who spend time in their districts, and are visible to their constituents, that personal touch may very well be the determining factor," Bauman said. 

 

Update, 4:20 am: This story was updated to reflect ballots that could come in over the next few days. 

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