Republican loyalists pull for Krikorian in Assembly race

Every state and federal official whose district includes La Cañada Flintridge is a Democrat, but local Republicans are hoping to get one of their own in the State Assembly after Tuesday's election.

Ernest Koppen, president of the La Cañada Flintridge Republican Club, said that the club's focus is the State 43rd District Assembly race between incumbent Mike Gatto (D- Silver Lake) and Republican Greg Krikorian. Thanks to redistricting, next year La Cañada will be part of the 43rd District, which includes Glendale and Burbank.

It was formerly part of the 44th District, which under the new maps includes cities to the east. Democrat Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada Flintridge) who currently holds the 44th district seat, is being forced out by term limits.

“Frankly, this is probably the most exciting opportunity we've had in a long time,” said Koppen. “[Krikorian] would be the first Republican in 16 years to hold that seat.”

In the June primary, Krikorian, a member of the Glendale Unified School District Board of Trustees, got 44% of the vote, while Gatto took 56%.

Krikorian has earned endorsements from La Cañada Mayor Steve Del Guercio and council members Michael Davitt and David Spence.

Gatto enjoys a strong Democratic advantage in voter registration in the district.

While the list of elected officials who endorse Gatto does not include names from La Cañada Flintridge, he is backed by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank), Glendale Mayor Frank Quintero and Burbank Mayor David Golonski, among others.

Davitt said that he has known Krikorian for more than 15 years, and thinks that his experience on the school board, and his conservative principles, would serve the community well.

“I do think Greg brings a little better conservative approach to getting the budget under control,” he said.

“I respect what he's done on the school board, and I respect his commitment to the community.”

City councilman Donald Voss said that he isn't weighing in on the Assembly race, but that he is backing state Sen. Carol Liu (D-La Cañada Flintridge) in her race for reelection against Republican Gil Gonzales.

Liu, a former La Cañada city councilwoman who is seeking her second and final term in the state Senate, won 51% of the vote versus Gonzalez' 43% in the June primary.

Voss said Liu has several advantages over Gonzales. “She lives in La Cañada, so she understands our community and what we care about, and her recent stand against [the proposed extension of the Long Beach (710) Freeway extension] was something I was happy to see.”

Davitt said that he, too, is watching politicians' stance on the gap closure project.

Though he endorsed Krikorian, he was glad to see that Gatto also opposes the 710 extension.

“I think from an immediate standpoint, the 710 issue is hugely important and it definitely impacts the community,” he said.

Dana Runge, president of the Crescenta Cañada Democratic Club, said that the group is focused on supporting the Pasadena Area United Democratic Headquarters' campaigns, in particular Liu's re-election bid.

“We've had canvasses coordinated with Carol Liu, members have been coming up to the [Pasadena] headquarters where we have the phone banks,” she said.

“It's just up the highway, so it's prudent for us to combine our resources together.”
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