Incumbents holding strong for state Legislature races 

Candidate for State Senate Suzette Valladares, left, and candidate for Assembly Patrick Lee Gipson make last minute campaign phone calls at their headquarters in Valencia on Tuesday, 030524. Dan Watson/The Signal
Candidate for State Senate Suzette Valladares, left, and candidate for Assembly Patrick Lee Gipson make last minute campaign phone calls at their headquarters in Valencia on Tuesday, 030524. Dan Watson/The Signal
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Election night is officially over, but the ballots still need to be fully counted. 

The Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk released the first batch of counted ballots on Tuesday night, with these consisting of mail-in ballots received prior to Tuesday, as well as in-person ballots cast prior to Tuesday. 

In total, 672,267 ballots have been counted in the county as of Tuesday night. Here’s how the races for the local state Legislature seats look as of Tuesday night, per the Registrar-Recorder and the California Secretary of State: 

23rd Senate District 

With sitting state Sen. Scott Wilk unable to run for the seat due to term limits, newcomers in Suzette Martinez Valladares, a Republican who formerly held a seat in the 40th Assembly District, and Kipp Mueller, a Democrat who is a small business owner as well as a civil rights and labor attorney, have entered the fray. Also running are James “DJ” Hamburger, a Republican Santa Clarita native with a military background, Blanca Azucena Gomez, a Democrat and member of the Victorville City Council, and Ollie M. McCauley, a Democrat and military veteran.  

As of Tuesday night, Valladares is leading the race with 31% of the vote. Mueller is trailing just behind with 30.5% of the votes. Hamburger has amassed 22.5% of the vote, followed by Gomez at 10.8% and McCaulley at 5.2%. 

The 23rd Senate District encompasses the Santa Clarita Valley and the Antelope Valley, extending east to the Victor Valley. 

Valladares, whose campaign website says that her top priorities are supporting law enforcement, making neighborhoods safer, lowering the cost of living and working to end the homelessness and fentanyl crises, said at a watch party on Tuesday that she is hopeful to be one of the top two candidates advancing to November’s general election. 

“I’m feeling really confident,” Valladares said. “We have been getting phenomenal feedback from every outlet, whether it’s at the doors, whether it’s through text messages or social media. I feel a huge swell of support and I’m looking forward. It’s obviously a top-two primary, so feeling really good about definitely making the top two.” 

Mueller’s campaign website says that his top priority is to put the Santa Clarita Valley and the Antelope Valley higher up on the list for state resources. A representative for Mueller’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday night. 

27th Senate District 

Incumbent Henry Stern, D-Calabasas, led in the polls as of Tuesday night, amassing 50.24% of the counted ballots. His opponents, Democrat Susan Collins and Republican Lucie Volotzky, had 30.96% and 18.79% of the votes counted, respectively. 

A total of 58,361 votes have been tallied for this race thus far. 

The 27th Senate District encompasses the southern portion of the Santa Clarita Valley as well as the western San Fernando Valley and eastern portions of Ventura County. 

On his campaign website, Stern says he is focused on five key issues: homelessness, public safety, the climate crisis, making California more affordable and providing health care to more people. This is Stern’s third campaign for state Senate and he would be ineligible to run for the same seat in the next election should he win in November’s primary due to term limits. 

Collins, a board member on the Sherman Oaks Neighborhood Council, chair of the Public Safety Committee and a member of the Community Police Advisory Board, says on her campaign website that she was one of the first to actively address the need for the ongoing mental illness and addiction crises. 

Volotzky, a businesswoman, says on her campaign website that she is looking to be a “common-sense state senator who will put California first and stand strong to defeat the radical progressive agenda hijacking our state and country.” 

Requests for comment from all three candidates were not immediately returned. 

40th Assembly District 

Incumbent Pilar Schiavo, D-Chatsworth, led in the polls as of Tuesday night, amassing 51.83% of the counted ballots compared to Republican challenger Patrick Lee Gipson, who has received 48.17% of the counted ballots. 

A total of 46,788 votes have been counted in this race thus far. 

Both candidates will move on to the general election, as they are the only candidates in a race that sees the top two vote-getters advance. 

The 40th Assembly District encompasses most of the Santa Clarita Valley and northwestern portions of the San Fernando Valley. 

34th Assembly District 

Incumbent Tom Lackey, R-Palmdale, held an advantage on Tuesday night in the polls, with 60.9% of the counted ballots going his way. His challenger, Democrat Ricardo Ortega, received 39.1% of the counted ballots as of Tuesday night. 

Both candidates will move on to the general election, as they are the only candidates in a race that sees the top two vote-getters advance. 

The 34th Assembly District encompasses northeastern portions of the Santa Clarita Valley and the western Antelope Valley, extending north to Mojave and east from that point. 

The Registrar-Recorder is set to release additional results in the coming days. The final certification of results is not expected until March 29. 

The general election is set for Tuesday, Nov. 5. 

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