As Democrat Elizabeth Romero, an assistant vice chancellor at UC Riverside, prepares to go head to head with Republican Melissa Melendez in a May 12 runoff election for the 28th Senate District seat, Romero is seeking the support of former rival Joy Silver.

Silver has sought the seat twice and lost both times. Her most recent attempt was in a special March 3 primary. She was one of five people seeking the seat and came in a distant third behind Melendez and Romero.

Official semi-final election results show Melendez with 86,436 votes, Romero with 51,968 votes, and Silver with 44,519 votes, according to the Riverside County Registrar of Voters. Approximately 500 Vote-by-Mail ballots that were postmarked and timely received and 18,000 Provisional ballots still must be processed. These figures are only an estimate and will not reflect precise machine counting. The next updated results will be posted at 5 p.m. on Monday, April 6

Gov. Gavin Newsom called for the special election following the November resignation of Sen. Jeff Stone, R-La Quinta, to take a post with the U.S. Department of Labor. The winner will serve the remaining two years of Stone’s term, which expires in 2022.

“Joy and I have been in communication,” Romero told Uken Report. “After the election, she left me a gracious congratulatory message. We had a good conversation about how we move the Democratic Party forward to flip this seat and I respectfully asked for her endorsement and support.”

Republicans have long had a hold on the seat and Democrats think they have a window of opportunity to seize it in May. As of March 24, there are currently 180,862 registered Democrats in the District and 175,479 registered Republicans, according to the Riverside County Registrar of Voters.

The challenge for both the Romero and Melendez campaigns is that they are underway during a coronavirus pandemic when residents are told to stay home, large gatherings are prohibited and social distancing is expected. So, they and their supporters are coming up with creative ways to campaign.

Bill Holzhauer, a Cathedral City resident and volunteer for the Romero campaign, has written a letter highlighting Romero’s attributes. It will be sent to every Democrat in Cathedral City, Holzhauer said.

In his letter, he reminds residents that “… Romero is endorsed by the California Democratic Party, Congressman Ruiz, Supervisor Perez, Assemblymember Garcia, The California Labor Federation, the Inland Empire Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO, the entire Palm Springs City Council and many other trusted local elected officials.”

On March 20, Gov. Newsom issued an executive order to permit vote-by-mail procedures in the upcoming special election during the coronavirus outbreak.

“As Vote By Mail (VBM) only is a new experience, it will be very important that we get every Democrat to vote for Elizabeth Romero and return their ballot in the mail ASAP,” Holzhauer said.












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