Redwood City Councilman Ira Ruskin won a close race in the March 2 primary over John Carcione in the battle for the Democratic Party's representative for the 21st Assembly District seat, currently held by Joe Simitian. Simitian will run for the 11th District seat in the state Senate in the General Election.
The vote count between Ruskin and Carcione, of Menlo Park, was so close Carcione refrained from conceding the election until three days later, March 5. The district, which includes Los Altos and Los Altos Hills, stretches from San Carlos to San Jose. Los Altos-Los Altos Hills voters make up approximately 35,000 of the 238,349 voters in the district.
The district is largely Democratic, 45.18 percent, and 33.38 percent for Republicans; but has seen a 2.5 percent increase in Republican voters since 1991. Ruskin, a communications consultant, was first elected to the Redwood City City Council in 1995. His priorities include protecting the environment, improving public education and services for families, and creating affordable housing.
Ruskin will face off in November against Republican challenger Steve Poizner, a high-tech entrepreneur from Los Gatos whose priorities in the primary included improving the business climate in Silicon Valley, reforming the public school system and "restoring integrity to our political system." Poizner's endorsements include Cisco Systems CEO and Los Altos Hills resident John Chambers.
Lempert of San Carlos left his day-to-day duties as CEO of EdVoice, an education lobbying group, to concentrate on his election bid in November. EdVoice offices are moving to Sacramento, leaving Lempert in a consulting role.
"It wasn't a huge shock (to lose) but I'm definitely disappointed," the former state assemblyman said last week. "I was running against someone in office, and a high-caliber person. And I was outspent as well."
Lempert said he would not seek political office "in the foreseeable future."