With all precincts reporting, Alex Lee declared victory Nov. 4, becoming the first openly bisexual member of the California State Assembly.
“I’m deeply grateful to the diverse communities of Assembly District 25,” said Lee. “The significance of our victory is part of a bigger, progressive movement ready to fight for a better future for all of us.”
The 25-year-old Democrat won 73.1% of the district’s 104,538 votes for Assembly District 25 to lead Republican Bob Brunton in the race for the open seat.
“We had no idea that we would get anywhere close to this,” Lee said during a virtual election party on election night. “We were super counted out as the underdog when we started this campaign about two years ago… we were outspent 15 to one, and yet we came out on top.”
Assemblymember Kansen Chu, a Democrat, is vacating his seat after serving six years as the district’s representative. The 25th Assembly District encompasses parts of Alameda and Santa Clara counties, including Newark, Milpitas, Santa Clara and portions of Fremont and San Jose.
Brunton declined to comment on the election results.
During the campaign, Burton said that as a business owner and parent, he is sensitive to the needs of small businesses and families. In previous interviews, Brunton said his top priority is education, which he said must be reformed to be more affordable for both students and parents.
Brunton said his 12 years as a trustee on the Ohlone Community College District Board have equipped him to understand the most urgent needs in the state’s education system. Often referred to as the district’s “perennial candidate,” Brunton unsuccessfully ran for the Assembly District 25 seat in 2014, 2016 and 2018. Brunton said he’d work hard to bridge the divide between Democrats and Republicans in Sacramento.
Lee has worked as a legislative policy advisor in both the state Senate and Assembly. Raised in both Milpitas and San Jose, Lee said his top priority is fixing the region’s housing crisis.
In his campaign, Lee eschewed donations from corporate interests, similar to U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, who has endorsed him. Lee said he was inspired to get involved in politics during the campaign of former President Barack Obama.
Brunton had promised to change sales tax rules to send 2 cents per dollar to the ZIP code where the consumer lives, giving cities an incentive to allow for more housing and residents.
Lee said he wants to focus on building more affordable housing by not-for-profit developers and make sure cities have enough funding to meet their low-income housing goals.
Both Brunton and Lee supported making it easier for seniors to sell their homes, with Brunton proposing seniors be allowed to keep their current property tax rates if they move to a new area.
Between Sept. 20 and Oct. 17, Brunton’s campaign raised $4,935 and spent $6,969.87, according to campaign filings. During this same period, Lee’s campaign raised $294,405 and spent $118,816.
Brunton did not receive any endorsements. Lee received endorsements from Chu and several other South Bay politicians, leaders and groups, including Assemblymember Ash Kalra, former U.S. Rep. Mike Honda and the California Teachers Association.
Contact Sonya Herrera at [email protected] or follow @SMHsoftware on Twitter.
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