HomeCity NewsSchultz, Friedman, Schiff Poised for November Runoff

Schultz, Friedman, Schiff Poised for November Runoff

The outcomes of the U.S. Senate, 30th Congressional District, L.A. County 5th Supervisorial District and 44th California Assembly District races are nearly cemented, as remaining votes from this week’s primary election continue to be counted.

Burbank Mayor Nick Schultz, a Democrat, is poised to face off with Republican frontrunner Tony Rodriguez for the open 44th Assembly District seat currently held by Assemblywoman Laura Friedman, according to still-unofficial results from L.A. County. Rodriguez has so far earned 27.51% of the vote with Schultz closing the gap at 26.65%, a difference of just 666 votes as of the Leader’s press deadline. The remaining Democrats trailed Schultz by a large margin, with third place UCLA law lecturer Ed Han ringing in at 15.84%, and Glendale Councilwoman Elen Asatryan close behind at 13.73%.

Friedman’s seat in the Assembly is open as she aims for U.S. Congress this election season. In her race, she pocketed 28.88% of the vote, trouncing opponents Glendale-based ICU physician Alex Balekian, a Republican, and state Sen. Anthony Portantino, a Democrat from Burbank, who tallied 18.92% and 13.65% respectively. As the top two vote-getters, Friedman and Balekian are likely to face off in November, though results are still being tabulated.

At an election night event hosted by Schultz and Friedman, the room was quiet with anticipation, as the stress of a particularly drawn-out election week weighed on the candidates, according to campaign staffers. But as the results flashed across the screen, everyone celebrated.

Initial results had both Schultz and Friedman in first place in their respective races.
Just moments after the county pushed out the initial tabulations, Schultz gave the Leader an interview.

“It’s just such a humbling experience. I really feel the love of my community and district right now,” he said. “It’s admittedly a bittersweet moment, because I love Burbank and I loved being on City Council and the thought of no longer serving in that capacity — it’s going to be hard to say goodbye. But I also know there’s an opportunity here to lead at the state level over all the issues I care about.”

At the time, Schultz added that the results were still very early, and that he would wait for every vote to be counted before celebrating.

Friedman said that she was encouraged by her strong lead but added that it could be weeks before the race was called for certain.

“It’s definitely a good place to start,” she added.

Burbank Vice Mayor Nikki Perez, Burbank Mayor Nick Schultz, Assemblywoman Laura Friedman and campaign manager Blake Dillinger celebrate the preliminary vote counts released by the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk on Tuesday. (Photos by Gavin J. Quinton / Burbank Leader)

Political pundits have fallen short of calling the race for Friedman, but the Los Angeles Times wrote Thursday that the results will likely stand.

“A Friedman victory is likely in the fall if Balekian joins her on the November ballot,” Times reporter Julia Wick wrote.

Councilman Konstantine Anthony has not announced if he will seek reelection in Burbank after placing third in his bid for the 5th District supervisorial seat. He was edged out by incumbent Kathryn Barger, who appears to have picked up the majority needed to avoid a runoff, with a blowout 58.74% of the vote. In second place was Assemblyman Chris Holden of Pasadena, with 21.37% of the vote, and Anthony, who earned 9.92%.

Rep. Adam Schiff, a Burbank-based Democrat, and former Dodger Steve Garvey, a Republican, are preparing for a November runoff election after topping a crowded field of candidates looking to claim the U.S. Senate seat previously held by the late Dianne Feinstein, beating out Democratic runners-up Rep. Katie Porter, who represents the 47th Congressional District in Orange County, and Rep. Barbara Lee, from the 12th Congressional District.

Schiff led the way among the more than two dozen candidates seeking the seat, earning 37.5% of the vote. Garvey was well behind Schiff, garnering 25.63% of the tally. Porter was a distant third at 14.7%, and Lee placed fourth at just 9.53%.

Schiff claimed victory at a Hollywood rally Tuesday night, but his speech was interrupted by protesters who loudly chanted “Cease-fire now” and “Free Palestine.” While security officials dragged some protesters out of the room, seemingly dozens of others remained, persistently chanting and forcing Schiff to try to speak over the din.

Of the leading Democrats in the race, Schiff has said he would not call for a cease-fire in Gaza, while Lee was among the earliest to do so. Porter has maintained a position around humanitarian aid to the region.

Due to the disruption, Schiff appeared to cut his remarks short, but he was able to thank supporters and his family.

“It looks like we’re going to the general, ladies and gentlemen,” Schiff said. “So, a little over a year ago we kicked off this campaign and I won’t say it wasn’t without its bumps along the way. I seem to recall, although it’s a little hazy, within hours of our announcement a certain Kevin McCarthy kicked me off the Intelligence Committee. … And then at the urging and badgering of Donald Trump, the Republicans censured me for holding him accountable. … And then Trump would attack me after rally after rally. … But you had my back every step of the way.”

Things were notably calmer in Palm Desert, where Garvey hailed his advance to the November runoff. The former Dodgers and Padres first baseman compared the election results to “what it’s like to hit a walk-off home run.”

“Your vote was your shared belief with me that California is no longer the heartbeat of America — but now just a murmur,” Garvey said. “That we have challenges to face up to — like closing the border. And responsibilities to live up to — like helping the homeless off the streets with a pathway back to their dignity. And that if we do those things and more, that our best days will be ahead of us with California once again being the heartbeat of America.”

Voter cast their ballot at the Buena Vista Branch Library in Burbank on Super Tuesday. (Photos by Gavin J. Quinton / Burbank Leader)

At home in Burbank, the flow of voters was steady at the Buena Vista Branch Library Tuesday. While some reported they showed up at polls to show their support for a presidential candidate, others were more focused on local bids and propositions.
“Local elections I think are more important. There’s less coverage because it’s less newsworthy and less of a dogfight and sensationalized, but these are issues that affect us more personally,” said resident Anvita Gurung.

Schultz, Friedman and Schiff will all likely run against with their Republican counterparts, Rodriguez, Balekian and Garvey in the November runoff. Voters will also decide on Burbank City Council and School Board seats come the General Election.

Longtime Burbank city staffer Judie Wilke and Planning Commission member Chris Rizzotti have thrown their hats in the ring for City Council, with Anthony and Schultz’s terms expiring this year. Three more seats will expire on the School Board as well, those held by Board President Emily Weisberg, Vice President Armond Aghakhanian and Board member Steve Ferguson.

The county is scheduled to certify election results on March 29. Statewide results will be certified by April 12.

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