A special primary election is being held on April 6 for California Assembly District 79. Marco Contreras (R), Aeiramique Glass Blake (D), Leticia Munguia (D), Shane Parmely (D), and Akilah Weber (D) are running in the primary election. California holds top-two primary elections. The two candidates who receive the most votes in the primary will advance to the general election on June 8, regardless of party affiliation. If a candidate receives more than 50% of the vote in the primary election, the general election will be canceled and the candidate will be elected to office.
The special election was called after Shirley Weber (D) left office due to her appointment as California Secretary of State by Gov. Gavin Newson (D). The previous secretary of state—Alex Padilla (D)—resigned following his appointment to the United States Senate. Newsom formally appointed Weber to the office on Jan. 18, and the California legislature unanimously confirmed Weber as the first Black person to hold this position on Jan. 28. Weber served in the state Assembly from 2012 until she was sworn in as secretary of state on Jan. 29.
California has a Democratic state government trifecta. A trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and majorities in both state legislative chambers. Democrats control the California State Assembly by a margin of 58-19, with one independent member and two vacancies.
As of March 2021, 33 state legislative special elections have been scheduled for 2021 in 16 states. Between 2011 and 2020, an average of 75 special elections took place each year. California held 32 state legislative special elections from 2010 to 2020.