L.A. Assemblywoman Holly Mitchell wins state Senate seat

Assemblyman Katcho Achadjian (R-San Luis Obispo), left, greets Assemblywoman Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) as lawmakers gather after the Labor Day holiday at the Capitol earlier this month. Mitchell has won a special election for the state Senate seat vacated by Democrat Curren Price.
(Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

SACRAMENTO — Assemblywoman Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) has cruised to victory in a special election for the state Senate seat vacated by Democrat Curren Price when he was elected to the Los Angeles City Council this year.

Mitchell received 80.6% of the vote, beating perennial Democratic candidate Mervin Evans, who received 19.4% in Tuesday’s contest for the 26th Senate District.

Mitchell, 49, will add to the bare supermajority the Democrats already have in the Senate.

“We are excited to welcome the passion, perspective and pragmatism she’ll bring as our 28th Democratic senator,” said Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento), who had endorsed her.


Mitchell noted that she began her public service career in the Senate in 1988, working then for Democratic Sen. Diane Watson of Los Angeles. “I’m excited,” Mitchell said. “It feels like coming full circle.”

She declined to comment when asked about talk in the Capitol that she may be a contender for Senate leader when Steinberg leaves office next year.

In the Assembly, Democratic membership has fallen below supermajority level because of vacancies.

When Mitchell resigns to take her Senate seat, Democrats in the lower house will hold 52 seats; they need 54 to regain the two-thirds majority they won in last year’s elections. They expect to be back to that level after three special elections to fill the vacancies before year’s end.

One of those contests will be a runoff between the two candidates who finished first in Tuesday’s election for the 45th Assembly District seat, which includes parts of Los Angeles and Ventura counties.

Democrat Robert Blumenfield of Woodland Hills vacated the seat when he won election to the Los Angeles City Council.


Democrat Matt Dababneh, an Encino resident who is an aide to Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks), will compete in the runoff against Republican Susan Shelley, a writer and publisher from Woodland Hills, if the results stand after provisional ballots are counted in coming days. Dababneh received 24.6% of the vote Tuesday; Shelley, 21.4%.

The runoff is set for Nov. 19.

Encino Democrat Jeff Ebenstein finished third Tuesday, followed by Republican Chris Kolski of West Hills and seven other contestants.