Santa Clarita residents make choices for Assembly

Politics and government

Local residents went into the polls to decide on who would occupy two state Assembly seats that represent different portions of the Santa Clarita Valley Tuesday.

The candidates spent time Tuesday night split between finishing up their canvassing calls, visiting with various constituents and then heading to their respective victory parties to watch alongside their supporters as the results were tallied.

The two districts representing the SCV are the 36th and 38th Assembly districts. Tom Lackey was defending the seat that he’s held since 2014, while a slate of candidates continued their fight to replace Assemblywoman Christy Smith, who is running in both the 25th Congressional District special and regular election.

“As of 10 p.m., things look good for Assemblyman Lackey to be the top vote getter for this primary and advance onto the general election,” said George Andrews, political director for the campaign. “This district has a tight election, and we’ll see who the Democrat nominee is. He’s at a commanding 59%.”

With 82.6% of the precincts reporting, Lackey led his second-place Democratic challenger Steve Fox, 18,347 votes to 4,697 votes.

The campaign for Suzette Martinez Valladares, the early Republican front-runner gunning for the 38th Assembly District seat, congregated in an upstairs suite above The Old Town Junction restaurant on Main Street. With 58.8% of the precincts reporting, Valladares held 34% of the vote.

“I’m happy because I think we’ve been working hard, and it clearly shows in the numbers,” Valladares said on Tuesday night. “This race from the get-go has been about people, about the issues that are important to our community and about bringing back the middle class in California.”

Lucie Lapointe Volotzky, another Republican running for the 38th Assembly District, was in second place overall with 18.8% of the vote.

The front-running Democrats running for the 36th and 38th made appearances throughout the districts. Annie Cho and Kelvin Driscoll were separated by a few percentage points based on the early results Tuesday.

Congregating in Smith’s campaign headquarters on The Old Road, Democratic canvassers and volunteers gathered around a projector as the results poured in with a slate of television news cameras set up behind them.

“We are heartened by early numbers,” said Driscoll on Tuesday. “It’s been a very short and turbulent road … It has certainly been one of the privileges of my lifetime to run for office in my community.”

Cho was in third place overall and the leading Democrat running for the seat at 58.8% of precincts reporting. She was leading fourth-place Driscoll, a fellow Democrat, 4,020 votes to 3,297.

Cho declined to comment as of the publication of this story.

California is a top-two primary state, with the top two vote getters in an election moving on to the general election in November.

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