Rodriguez Scores Narrow Victory In 52nd Assembly District Race

(September 27) Pomona Councilman Freddie Rodriguez outdistanced Ontario Mayor Paul Leon in Tuesday’s specially-held election to fill the vacancy in the 52nd Assembly District that came about when Norma Torres departed earlier this year to become state senator in the 32nd Senate District.
The 52nd Assembly District straddles Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties, covering all of  Pomona, Ontario, Montclair, Chino and part of Fontana. With all precincts in the district reporting as of 11 p.m. on September 24, Rodriguez, a Democrat, topped Leon, who was formerly a Republican but reregistered with no party preference prior to the race. Of the 13,743 votes cast, Rodriquez logged 7,054 supporters to Leon’s 6,689, a relatively close 52 to 48 percent victory.
In the 52nd District, Republicans hold a 47 to 28 percent registration advantage over Republicans. After incumbent 32nd District State Senator Gloria Negrete-McLeod defeated incumbent Congressman Joe Baca in November, her departure from Sacramento to Washington, D.C. triggered a March vote to replace her in which seven candidates ran and Leon and Torres finished in the top two spots. Torres, a Democrat, handily defeated Leon, at that time a Republican, in the May run-off. Like the 52nd Assembly District, the 32nd Senatorial District is heavily Democratic.
In the election to replace Torres held in July, nine candidates including the newly independent Leon, Republican Dorothy Pineda and seven Democrats, including Rodriguez, vied. Leon finished first, but did not capture the required minimum of fifty percent plus one to win the seat. Rodriquez, boosted by an influx of Democratic party money, finished second. That forced a run-off.
With the district’s Democrats united behind him  on Tuesday, the former ambulance driver eked out a berth at  the state capital.

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