Republican Wallis defeats bisexual SoCal Assembly candidate Holstege

  • by Matthew S. Bajko, Assistant Editor
  • Thursday December 8, 2022
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Palm Springs City Councilmember Christy Holstege lost her bid for an Assembly seat. Photo: Courtesy the candidate
Palm Springs City Councilmember Christy Holstege lost her bid for an Assembly seat. Photo: Courtesy the candidate

Shortly after the San Bernardino County registrar of voters certified on Thursday morning their county's vote results for the November 8 elections, Republican Greg Wallis declared victory in his Assembly race against bisexual Palm Springs City Councilmember Christy Holstege.

Over the last month the two candidates had switched back and forth in first place for the open Assembly District 47 seat, which straddles both San Bernardino and Riverside counties. But as more votes came in over the last week from San Bernardino, Wallis began to take a slight edge in the contest.

The vote update Thursday morning by the San Bernardino registrar did not change the tally the elections office had posted Wednesday afternoon. Wallis, who lives in Bermuda Dunes with his wife, won with 84,752 votes, according to the unofficial districtwide returns. He led Holstege by 85 votes, as she received 84,667 votes.

Since December 2014 Wallis has served as district director for former Assemblymember Chad Mayes (I-Rancho Mirage), whose term ended earlier this week. Mayes opted not to seek reelection this year, so Wallis' win is a pickup seat for the GOP caucus in Sacramento, and under term limits, he could potentially serve in it for the next 12 years.

"I'm honored that the people have elected me to serve our community," stated Wallis in a tweet. "Now, it's time to roll up our sleeve and get right to work. The Governor has initiated a special session, and the legislature has already convened and started organizing. I'm excited to get to Sacramento right away and represent all constituents of our district."

Secretary of State Shirley M. Weber must certify the final statewide results for the November 8 election by December 16. Anyone wishing to ask for a recount in the AD 47 race has until Tuesday, December 13, to do so.

Holstege had told The Desert Sun on Wednesday that she wasn't sure if she would request a recount. She reiterated that in her own tweet posted Wednesday night, saying she would consult with her campaign team to determine if seeking a recount made sense.

"This race is one of the closest legislative elections in state history, with a margin of difference totaling less than a tenth of 1%," wrote Holstege, who gave birth to her and her husband's now 2-year-old son less than a year prior to her launching her Assembly campaign.

Holstege, a Democrat, was vying to become the 13th member of the Legislative LGBTQ Caucus in Sacramento. She would also have been 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.

Only one of the dozen identifies as bisexual, Assemblymember Alex Lee (D-San Jose), whose election in 2020 marked the first time a bisexual candidate had won a state legislative race. He took his oath of office for a second time Monday, December 5, along with nearly all of the other winners of this year's state Senate and Assembly races.

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