LOS ANGELES — Wendy Carrillo leads fellow Democrat Luis Lopez after early returns in a special election for a Los Angeles-area seat in the California Assembly.
Carrillo had 55 percent of the vote and Lopez had 45 percent after mail-in ballots and votes from some precincts were counted for the northeast LA district that includes Echo Park, Silver Lake and Chinatown.
Carrillo, a former union organizer and radio host, earned about 22 percent of the vote and finished first of 13 candidates in the October primary where the top two vote-getters advanced. Lopez had about 18 percent in an election that only saw about 10 percent of registered voters cast ballots.
The seat opened when Democrat Jimmy Gomez was elected to Congress after U.S. Rep. Xavier Becerra became state attorney general.
Carrillo, an immigrant from El Salvador who became a legal resident of the United States at age 13, had the endorsement of Gomez and the state Democratic Party.
Lopez, the director of government affairs for City of Hope Medical Center, had the endorsement of Planned Parenthood and Equality California, an LGBT rights group. He previously ran for the seat in 2012, losing badly to Gomez.
When the winner takes the seat, Democrats will increase their supermajority in the Assembly to 54 of 80 seats.