SACRAMENTO — A Pomona Democrat has narrowly won an open state Assembly seat in the Inland Empire in a low-turnout special election.
Democrat Freddie Rodriguez, a Pomona city councilman, defeated Ontario Mayor Paul Leon, 51.3 percent to 48.7 percent in Tuesday’s runoff election.
Leon, a Republican who re-registered as an independent earlier this year, would have needed to win more than two-thirds of the 1,064 outstanding votes to overcome the margin. He had not conceded by Wednesday morning.
“This has been a hard-fought campaign on the grassroots level and we’ll continue monitoring the results as they come in,” he said in a statement.
County election officials are expected to update their vote tallies Wednesday afternoon.
Rodriguez declared victory late Tuesday, saying he is excited to represent the 52nd Assembly District, which includes sections of eastern Los Angeles County and western San Bernardino County.
“I look forward to being a voice for all of the people of the Inland Empire, and for safer neighborhoods, at the state Capitol,” Rodriguez said in a statement.
Rodriguez will replace Democrat Norma Torres, who won a state Senate seat in May. Leon ran as a Republican against Torres in that contest but lost by a 20-point margin.
Turnout in the heavily Democratic Assembly district was light Tuesday, with about 7 percent reported in Los Angeles County and a little more than 8 percent in San Bernardino County.
Rodriguez’s victory will put Assembly Democrats one vote shy of the two-thirds supermajority needed to pass taxes and override gubernatorial vetoes. The Legislature has adjourned for the year and will reconvene in January.
Another special election is scheduled for Nov. 19 to replace Democratic Assemblyman Bob Blumenfield, who was elected to the Los Angeles City Council. Another contest will be scheduled to replace Assemblywoman Holly Mitchell, D-Los Angeles, who won a special Senate election last week.