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Gov. Newsom announces special election to fill seat of former Assemblywoman Shirley Weber

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Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
 2021-02-03
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Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, seen in 2015, left her seat representing the 79th District to become California secretary of State. (Don Boomer / San Diego Union-Tribune)

Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a proclamation Tuesday declaring a special election for the 79th Assembly District on June 8 to fill the seat vacated by newly appointed California Secretary of State Shirley Weber.

The primary election for the seat will be held April 6, Newsom’s office announced Tuesday.

The proclamation comes after the election of Joe Biden as president and former U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris as vice president began a domino effect leading to Weber’s open seat.

In December, Newsom announced that he would appoint Secretary of State Alex Padilla to fill the Senate seat Harris vacated after she was elected vice president. He announced he would nominate Weber to succeed Padilla as secretary of State.

Harris resigned her Senate seat Jan. 18, clearing the way for Padilla’s appointment and nomination of Weber to replace him. On Thursday, California lawmakers approved Weber’s appointment, making her the first Black person to hold the job of the state’s top election official.

Weber, a Democrat, had represented the 79th Assembly District — which includes parts of southeast San Diego, Bonita, Chula Vista, La Mesa, Lemon Grove and National City — since 2012. She won reelection last year with 66% of the vote.

A recent poll funded by an exploratory committee by former 50th District congressional candidate Ammar Campa-Najjar and conducted by Strategies 360 last month named several possible candidates who might run for the seat in a special election this year.

Campa-Najjar got the most poll votes, capturing 22%, according to the poll. He said he decided not to run because he thinks the seat should continue to be held by a Black woman.

The Democrat who captured the next-highest percentage of poll votes was Weber’s daughter, La Mesa City Councilwoman Dr. Akilah Weber, with 14%. She announced her intention to run for the seat in December.

The sole Republican named in the poll, Chula Vista City Councilman John McCann, received 26% of poll votes.

Cook writes for the San Diego Union-Tribune.

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