Glendale school board member Nayiri Nahabedian has ended her campaign for state Assembly a week after losing by a 10% margin in a special primary election last week, her consultant said Tuesday.
Although her loss April 13 knocked her out of a special June 8 runoff contest, Nahabedian could have competed in another primary for the same seat — also to be held June 8 — ahead of the Nov. 2 general election.
But after conversations with Assembly Speaker John Perez and Democrat Mike Gatto, who won the primary last week, Nahabedian decided to end her election bid, said Paul Mitchell, a Sacramento-based consultant for her campaign.
“It was in the speaker’s best interest that there be some clarity here, and we were willing to do the right thing and step out,” Mitchell said.
Nahabedian will still appear on June 8 ballots as a candidate for the primary contest, even though voters will also be making a choice between Gatto and Republican Sunder Ramani for who should fill the remainder of the unexpired term ending Nov. 30.
With two contests happening on the same day, Perez was concerned that voters would be confused, especially because Nahabedian would have to campaign against Gatto for the primary nomination while Gatto would be simultaneously seeking support for the runoff election, Mitchell said.
“Even if we had abundant confidence that we could win in the June primary, the fact is that we would only be doing it out of selfishness, and in doing so we would probably be jeopardizing the Democrats’ ability to hold on to this seat that we’ve held on to for the last 16 years,” he said.
Gatto, an attorney, declined to comment on Nahabedian’s decision to drop out of the race, saying he was concentrating on state problems.
“I’m focused on working as hard as possible to solve the issues of the state up in Sacramento, and that remains my focus,” he said.
Nahabedian, who finished third in the April 13 special election primary with 22% of the vote, did not respond to requests for comment Tuesday.
She posted a letter on her website over the weekend thanking supporters and expressing disappointment at the April results, although the letter did not clearly state whether she would continue campaigning for the seat.
“The numbers on Tuesday did not go our way,” she said in the letter.
“However, the issues we care about transcend any one election result. We will stay engaged and active on the issues that matter to California — getting the economy moving, attracting good jobs, and preparing all children to have a path to a college or a path to a career.”
The seat representing the 43rd Assembly District, which includes most of Glendale, Burbank and parts of Los Angeles, has been vacant since January, when Paul Krekorian left the office to join the Los Angeles City Council.
Gatto, however, will not be uncontested in his primary bid.
Democrat Chahe Keuroghelian announced Tuesday that he would run in the June 8 partisan contest.
Keuroghelian, who political experts say weakened Nahabedian’s showing in the polls April 13 by splitting the Armenian American vote, pledged to reinvigorate his campaign.
The Armenian-language television host admitted that he was unable to gain widespread support in the district for the special election, having caught on mostly with Armenian American voters. He pledged to broaden his campaign efforts as he pushed on toward the election.
“We’re up and running already,” Keuroghelian said in a statement Tuesday. “We have enough people and contributions to get organized and prepare a strong campaign.”