By Veronica Mackey
Autumn Burke moved one giant step closer to a seat in the 62nd State Assembly District Tuesday night, beating her closest Democratic challenger, Gloria Gray. She will now face off with Republican Ted Grose in November.
The political newbie said she is still coming down from it all, but remains focused.
“I am taken aback. I’m not shocked, because we tracked the numbers pretty well, but it is still humbling,” she said in a phone interview on Wednesday. Burke took 41.2% of the vote, over Grose’s 20.0%. Gray won 16.6% according to 100% of the precincts reported by the County of Los Angeles.
The 62nd Assembly District is typically Democratic. “I think what happened was the Republicans were coming out against Gov. (Jerry) Brown, and it ended up helping Ted,” she said.
There are still 5 months ahead to total victory for the tenacious daughter of former L.A. County Supervisor Yvonne Brathwaite Burke. She is already working on plans to bring more jobs to the state, and especially to her district. California, she said, needs to become more business friendly.
Burke hopes to bring her 15 years of experience as a business consultant and real estate professional to help residents in Inglewood and other areas. The district, she said, will have a senior population of over 40 percent in the next 5 years. There will be challenges in real estate and home health care, two areas of her expertise.
Until then, she will continue door-to-door canvassing, meeting with businesses and local leaders, keeping a pulse on what the community needs.
Except for some negative campaigning by candidate Simona Farisse (who won 333%), the race was relatively clean. The Gray camp accused Farisse of spreading lies in her campaign literature, tying Gray to the financial trouble of the Inglewood School District (although Gray had left 10 years earlier) and other misinformation. Farisse lived in Santa Barbara until late last year, when she bought a $1.3 million home in Westchester to qualify for the seat.
Burke managed to stay clear of the controversy, heeding advice from political veterans:
“The advice that I was given was to make this abut the community, not about myself and the other candidates. I never did a negative mailer.”
There were plenty of mailers jamming mailboxes in the last 2 weeks leading to Election Day.
But there were few surprises, if any, in the races that pertained to Inglewood. U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters defeated her opponent in the 43rd Congressional District. Karen Bass, whose 37th District includes the nearby Crenshaw/Leimert Park area was also victorious.
Jim McDonnell won the L.A. County Sheriff’s race; Jeffrey Prang won for L.A. County Assessor; Hilda Solis for L.A. County Supervisor, District 1; and Sheila Kuehl for L.A. County Supervisor, District 2. Jerome Horton easily won re-election to the 3rd Seat of the Board of Equalization.
Tom Torlakson held on to his seat as the state’s Superintendent of Public Instruction. Long time educator George McKenna won the crowded race for a seat on the Los Angeles Unified School District Board.
All incumbents prevailed in the state’s highest offices: Gov. Jerry Brown, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and Attorney General Kamala Harris beat out their opponents.