Former Commissioner Finishes First in Race to Replace Raul Bocanegra

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Democrat Luz Maria Rivas will face Republican Ricardo Antonio Benitez June 5 to fill the 39th Assembly District seat made vacant by the resignation of Raul Bocanegra.

Rivas, a former Los Angeles public works commissioner, topped the field of six in Tuesday's special election with 41.89 percent of the vote, according to semi-official results released Wednesday by the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk. Benitez, a contracting business owner and the lone Republican on the ballot, was second with 21.99 percent.

Antonio Sanchez, who was a field director under then-Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, was third with 18.72 percent. Former Assemblywoman Patty Lopez was fourth with 9.89 percent.

Because no candidate received a majority, Rivas will face Benitez June 5 in a general election to fill the final six months of Bocanegra's term.

Bocanegra resigned Nov. 27 after initially saying he would serve out the remainder of his term representing the northeastern San Fernando Valley. He opted to step aside amid rising calls for him to resign because of sexual harassment allegations.

The district includes North Hollywood, Mission Hills, Sylmar, Arleta and Lake View Terrace.

All but one of the candidates on Tuesday's ballot will also be on the June 6 ballot, along with Democrat Bonnie Corwin, seeking spots on the November general election ballot, seeking a full two-year term.

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