First published in the March 5 print issue of the Burbank Leader.
Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to reflect state Sen. Anthony Portantino’s future representation of Burbank, which will continue until the end of his term in 2024.
Adrin Nazarian, who was running against fellow Democrat Laura Friedman to represent Burbank and other cities in the state Assembly, announced this week he was dropping out of the race.
Nazarian, who represents California Assembly District 46, was positioned to clash in a potentially divisive political battle with Friedman over the newly drawn Assembly District 44, which includes Burbank, north Glendale, North Hollywood and Sunland-Tujunga, in the June primary election. He said in a statement Monday that he will instead run to succeed Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Krekorian in 2024.
Friedman’s current district, Assembly District 43, includes Burbank, Glendale and La Crescenta. A former Glendale City Council member who has held her position in the state Assembly for about six years, Friedman and Republican Barry Jacobsen remained the only other candidates who had filed for the election as of this week.
“All empirical circumstances outlined a clear road to victory,” Nazarian said in his statement, “however that victory would have come at the expense of extreme divisiveness that would have torn our communities apart at a time when we need unity and healing rather than division.”
A memo from the Burbank City Manager’s Office indicated that nearly half of Assembly District 44’s area consists of Friedman’s district, compared to 31% of the area for Nazarian’s district. Both representatives have lamented that the statewide redistricting process that occurred in December pit them against each other.
“I am grateful to [Assemblyman] Nazarian for making what I know to be a very difficult decision in the interest of avoiding inner party and local divisiveness,” Friedman said on Twitter. “I was very sad that the redistricting process led to [Assemblyman] Nazarian and I being in the same assembly district — not just because he is a formidable opponent, but also because he is a successful and dedicated public servant with so much to offer the community.”
Nazarian served as Krekorian’s chief of staff while the latter served in the state Assembly and the L.A. City Council. Krekorian, elected in 2010, will reach the end of his last allowable term in 2024. Nazarian’s state Assembly term will end in December.
“From the perspective of the 8-year-old boy, having fled war-torn Iran to the welcoming shores of the United States, never would he have dreamed to be able to serve in this capacity,” Nazarian said. “I hope to continue my public service as I will be running to replace Councilmember Paul Krekorian.”
The new California district lines will also mean that the district of state Sen. Anthony Portantino, a La Cañada-Flintridge Democrat, will no longer include Burbank after this year, though he will continue to represent Burbank through the end of his 2024 term along with a second senator elected from the newly drawn Senate District 20. Candidates who are running to represent the district include Democrat Daniel Hertzberg, son of state Sen. Robert Hertzberg; Democrat Caroline Menjivar, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran; Republican Jason Aula, a political consultant; Republican Ely de la Cruz Ayao; and Democrat Seydi Alejandra Morales.