SoCal Assembly race with bisexual candidate still to be called

  • by Matthew S. Bajko, Assistant Editor
  • Monday December 5, 2022
Share this Post:
Palm Springs City Councilmember Christy Holstege's Assembly race is still too close to call. Photo: Courtesy the candidate
Palm Springs City Councilmember Christy Holstege's Assembly race is still too close to call. Photo: Courtesy the candidate

At the state Capitol Monday afternoon nearly all of the newly elected legislators took their oaths of office. But not present was the new member from Assembly District 47 spanning Riverside and San Bernardino counties.

The November 8 contest for the open seat remains too close to call, with 2,050 ballots still remaining to be counted from San Bernardino. The next update will come by 4 p.m. Tuesday.

As of Monday afternoon, Republican Greg Wallis is leading bisexual Palm Springs City Councilmember Christy Holstege by 35 votes. Wallis is now in first place with 50.01% - with 84,686 votes - while Holstege is at 49.99% - with 84,651 votes.

After the December 6 count update, Wallis is now leading by 34 votes, with several thousand ballots still to be counted by San Bernardino election officials. A new update will come at 4 p.m. Wednesday, December 7.

Should Holstege, a Democrat, emerge the winner then she would be the 13th member of the Legislative LGBTQ Caucus in Sacramento. She would also be the first out legislator elected from the Palm Springs region.

Now with 12 Democrats as members, the affinity group for LGBTQ lawmakers is the largest since its founding in 2002. Accounting for 10% of the Legislature's 120 members, it marks the first time an LGBTQ caucus has reached such proportional representation in a U.S. legislature.

"While we're still waiting on the final call from Christy Holstege's race - she is currently within a 34 vote margin - we know there will be at least 12 openly LGBTQ+ representatives in Sacramento next year. Today, this rainbow-ceiling breaking cohort was sworn in," statewide LGBTQ advocacy organization Equality California wrote in a December 5 email to its supporters.

Holstege would be the caucus' first bi female member and bring the number of women in it to five, the most ever. Taking his oath of office for a second time December 5 was Assemblyman Alex Lee (D-San Jose), who two years ago became the first bisexual elected to the Legislature.

According to Alex Vassar, the communications manager at the California State Library, Senator Melissa Hurtado's 12-vote lead in her race against GOPer David Shepard in the 12th Senate District in the Central Valley centered around Fresno is the closest race in either house of the state Legislature since 1918.

The Holstege versus Wallis contest, meanwhile, is the closest state Assembly race since 1994, Vassar noted in a recent tweet.

While the lengthy wait for a final count in the AD 47 race has prompted complaints on social media, county elections officials have until December 8 to finalize their results from the November 8 election. Secretary of State Shirley M. Weber must certify the results on December 16.

"On Election Night, we had a good picture of most contests, but the outcomes of close contests may take days or weeks to know the final results. This is normal," stated Weber in a November 15 news release. "By law, county election officials have 30 days to count every valid ballot and conduct a post-election audit. We have a huge population of registered voters and California stresses enfranchisement, so we have a process that by law ensures both voting rights and the integrity of elections.

"I would call on everyone to be patient," she added.

UPDATED 12/6/22 with a new vote tally.

Help keep the Bay Area Reporter going in these tough times. To support local, independent, LGBTQ journalism, considerĀ becoming a BAR member.

Featured Local Savings