Democratic La Mesa City Councilwoman Dr. Akilah Weber garnered 52% of the vote in the 79th Assembly District special election Tuesday night, receiving above the 50% needed to avoid a runoff with a small but unknown number of ballots remaining to be counted on Wednesday.
The seat for the 79th district, which covers part of San Diego and several suburbs, has been vacant since January following the elevation of then-Assemblywoman Shirley Weber to Secretary of State by Governor Gavin Newsom.
Akilah Weber, who is also the daughter of Shirley Weber, currently leads the other candidates by a large margin. The second-place candidate, Republican customs broker Marco Contreras, has only received around 33% of the vote, with the other 3 receiving less than 10% each.
However, despite votes still needing to be counted, Weber declared victory on Tuesday night, noting that even if she were to dip below 50%, she would likely win the general election in June.
“Tonight’s win and these results are staggering; I am deeply honored and humbled by the faith that the voters have placed in me,” said Weber on Tuesday. “My campaign is focused on one mission: creating healthier communities for everyone who lives and works in the 79th district. Although there are votes yet to be counted, I am eager to start that work restoring economic prosperity, expanding high quality healthcare, investing in education, and protecting our environment. There are innumerable tasks ahead to create an equitable and prosperous California, but together I know that we can achieve these essential ambitions.”
In a follow up tweet, she added “Tonight’s win and these results are staggering; I am deeply honored and humbled by the faith that the voters have placed in me.”
Tonight’s win and these results are staggering; I am deeply honored and humbled by the faith that the voters have placed in me. Read my full statement: https://t.co/Ft52QoQPLg pic.twitter.com/o0fCknU90P
— Akilah Weber, MD (@drakilahweber) April 7, 2021
While the only Republican candidate, Marco Contreras, currently has 33% of the vote, Weber’s margin is still close enough that a runoff may be triggered.
“This is San Diego and the San Diego suburbs, so there is a big GOP presence,” noted San Diego County pollster Richard Lewis to the Globe. “However, in this area where the Assembly district is, there is definitely a Democratic lean. Best they can hope for right now is forcing a runoff, which would delay Weber from being sworn in for another few months. Barring a major scandal, that is the most likely outcome right now.”
If Weber retains of 50% of the final vote, which is expected to be reported in soon, she will be sworn in later this month. However, if her total dips below 50%, Weber will have to face Contreras in a runoff vote currently scheduled for June 8th.
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