No sooner had the ink dried on convicted State Senator Rod Wright’s resignation letter, than Assemblyman Steven Bradford (D-Inglewood) and Assemblyman Isadore Hall, III (D-Compton) filed papers to take his place. The new candidates will make a run for the 35th District Senate, which is overwhelmingly Democratic. About 14% of registered voters are Republican.
Wright announced on Monday that he will resign effective Sept. 22, 2014, following sentencing last week to 90 days in jail, 1,500 hours of community service and three years of probation.
The 62 year-old lawmaker was convicted on five counts of fraudulent voting, two counts of perjury by declaration and one count of filing a false declaration of candidacy. A jury believed Wright lied about living in Inglewood—where he was elected to represent—but actually resided outside the district in Baldwin Hills. The conviction makes him ineligible to hold public office in the State of California.
Wright’s resignation culminates a 2010 indictment, which subsequently led to him being suspended on March 28 by the State Senate. He is the first state legislator to resign over a criminal conviction in 20 years.
Gov. Jerry Brown has 14 days from Wright’s official resignation to call a special election to fill the remaining two years of Wright’s term. The special election will be held between 126 and 140 days from the governor’s proclamation, and nine or 10 Tuesdays before the special election runoff.
It will be at least 6 months before the new 35th District senator is known, but Bradford and Hall wasted no time making their intentions known.
Bradford, a former Gardena City Councilman, who was elected to the 62nd Assembly District in 2009, touted his “seventeen years of a solid track record of public service.” Hall, who promised to “create more good paying jobs, and to bolster our K-12 and higher education systems,” was elected to the 64th Assembly District in 2008.
Wright originally planned to step down on Oct. 31. However, pressure from Senate Democrats to expel him if he did not step down sooner forced the earlier announcement. The Dems lost their supermajority earlier this year with suspensions of other senators in their party—Leland Yee of San Francisco and Ronald S. Calderon of Montebello. Yee and Calderon face federal corruption charges and allegations they accepted money in exchange for favors. Both have pleaded not guilty and are awaiting trial.