Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez, R-Lake Elsinore, took a comfortable lead in initial results for the special election to fill a state Senate seat representing a large swath of Riverside County that was vacated last year.
Former Sen. Jeff Stone resigned his position Nov. 1 to take the reins as the Trump administration’s western regional director for the U.S. Department of Labor, leaving the 28th District without a senator.
According to early returns published by the county Registrar of Voters, with 20% of precincts reporting, Melendez had received 44,429 votes, with her closest competitor — businesswoman Joy Silver — at 22,500.
If one of the candidates earns a majority of votes, that person will be the new senator. However, if there’s no majority winner, the top two vote-getters in the primary will square off in a May 12 special election called by Gov. Gavin Newsom.
Melendez, who has represented the 67th Assembly District since 2012, is standing on her anti-tax record, public safety advocacy and pro-job growth positions in campaign literature.
The U.S. Navy veteran and mother of five says that if elected, she will seek improvements to the state’s water storage infrastructure and will “stand up to special interests to protect small businesses and push for more good paying jobs.”
Silver has vowed to make expansion of affordable housing top among her priorities if elected, and said solving the homeless crisis is of the utmost importance, as well as “strengthening (housing access) protections for working families, seniors, and veterans on fixed incomes.”
Registered nurse Anna Nevenic promises to “fight for education, health care reforms, the creation of well-paid jobs, making college tuition affordable and making sure that our senior citizens get the protection and security they deserve.”
According to Riverside County Board of Education member Elizabeth Romero’s campaign, healthcare access and higher education opportunities will be among her top priorities if elected, while business owner John Schwab is foremost concerned with preservation of Second Amendment rights, as well as other fundamental freedoms.
The last special election for state Senate in Riverside County occurred in 2010, when the late John Benoit vacated his 37th Senate District seat to serve on the county Board of Supervisors, representing the Fourth District.
The 37th District was redrawn after the 2010 Census, and much of it was incorporated into what is now the 28th District, stretching from Rancho Mirage to the Temecula Valley.
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