Eleven people will be vying Tuesday to fill the state Senate seat left vacant by Ricardo Lara’s election as state Insurance Commissioner.
Although 12 names will appear on the ballot in the special election for the 33rd Senate District, one of them, Long Beach City Councilman Al Austin, previously ended his campaign for the seat.
Long Beach Councilwoman Lena Gonzalez is considered the front-runner in the race, but given the number of candidates on the ballot, it was unclear if any of them could earn the 50 percent of the vote needed to avoid a June 4 runoff. If no candidate gets a majority, the top two vote-getters will advance to the runoff.
The 33rd Senate District includes the communities of Bell Gardens, Bell, Signal Hills, South Gate, Paramount, Vernon, Lynwood, Maywood, Huntington Park and Cudahy, along with a large swath of Long Beach.
Lara was elected to the seat in 2012 and re-elected in 2016.
Also vying for the seat are:
— businessman Tom Cares;
— South Gate Councilwoman Denise Diaz;
— teacher/administrator Cesar Flores;
— Cudahy Councilman Chris Garcia;
— businesswoman/teacher Martha Flores Gibson;
— Cudahy Councilman Jack Guerrero;
— Bell Councilwoman Ana Quintana;
— Bell City Councilman Ali Saleh;
— Lynwood Mayor Jose Luis Solache; and
— former Lynwood Mayor Leticia Vasquez Wilson.
All of the candidates are Democrats except Gibson and Guerrero, who are Republicans, and Flores, a member of the Green Party.