Believe it or not, tomorrow is election day in Santa Clarita and other communities in the 17th State Senate district, as the seat vacated by George Runner needs to be filled.
Runner was elected to the 2nd District Seat of the State Board of Equalization in November and took office January 3. Two candidates, both residents of the Antelope Valley, have expressed their interest in filling that seat: Runner’s wife, former Assemblywoman Sharon Runner, 56, and political consultant/activist Darren W. Parker, 51.
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If she is elected, it would be the second time that Sharon Runner has taken over a public office from her husband; in 2002, she was elected to his Assembly seat when he termed out, an office she held until 2008.
Parker has not been elected to a legislative position in the past, but he recently retired from 31 years with AT&T and the Communication Workers of America union. He also chaired the Antelope Valley Human Relations Commission for 10 years and is considered a community leader in the Antelope Valley.
The 17th District includes the Santa Clarita and Antelope Valleys, as well as portions of San Bernardino and Ventura Counties and a small part of Kern County. Whoever wins Tuesday’s contest will have to run for reelection in 2012, as Runner’s unused term expires Dec. 2, 2012.
This election would have been the first to be held under the new rules imposed by voters who approved the “top two” primary runoff to pit the highest vote-getters against each other instead of just one candidate from each party, but since there are only two running, the office will be decided tomorrow and no run-off will be required.
The only other election being held Tuesday does fall under the new rules, since six candidates are vying to fill the 28th District Senatorial seat vacated by Jenny Oropeza, who died in October. The top two vote-getters will have a run-off on April 19.
To find your polling place, click here. Mail-in votes must reach the Los Angeles Registrar-Recorder’s office by 8 p.m. Tuesday. Completed mail-in ballots can also be dropped off at polling places.