The election for the state Senate’s 33rd District has come and gone — and now its results will trigger another day at the ballot box for some Long Beach voters.
Long Beach City Councilwoman Lena Gonzalez defeated her opponent, Cudahy City Councilman Jack Guerrero, in the Tuesday, June 4, special election to replace current Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara in the state Senate. Now, city officials said, voters will be tasked with choosing her replacement on the council.
City Clerk Monique De La Garza said Thursday, June 6, that Long Beach will hold a special election, likely on Nov. 5, to pick a new council member to represent Long Beach’s southwestern First District, which stretches from the city’s western border to Orange Avenue, and from 21st Street south to Ocean Boulevard.
Gonzalez said she expected to be sworn into her new office some time next week, which could leave Long Beach’s First District residents without a representative for five months.
To avoid that, De La Garza said, Mayor Robert Garcia could appoint a caretaker for the district. That person would not have the power to vote as a member of the City Council, but he or she could handle constituent calls and otherwise maintain the office.
Garcia used that power in 2014, when Councilman Patrick O’Donnell was elected to the state Assembly. Garcia chose his former chief of staff, Sharon Weissman, to look after that council office until the voters had their say.
Mark Taylor, Garcia’s current chief of staff, said Thursday that Garcia does plan on appointing a caretaker for Gonzalez’s seat.
“No selection has been made,” he said, “but we will make an announcement at the appropriate time. “
Candidates who are interested in serving the rest of Gonzalez’s term, which ends in 2022, will likely be able to file papers for the special election next month.
De La Garza said she expects the nominating period will begin July 15 and end Aug. 5.