Schiff, Friedman, and Schultz All Move On to November General Election

Checking results on a laptop that showed both Laura Friedman and Nick Schultz picking up enough votes to make the general election on November while spending time with supporters at the Hilton Garden Inn. (Photo by Ross A Benson)

Without a doubt, the largest seat up for grabs from a local perspective is that of the United States Senate and Burbank’s Adam Schiff, who has a lead over Steve Garvey, who will both move on to the General Election on November 5 with results provided on Wednesday.

Burbank Vice Mayor Nikki Perez, Mayor Nick Schultz, Assembly Member Laura Friedman and Blake Dellinger, Campaign Manager for Schultz ( Photo by Ross A Benson)

Earlier in the afternoon, protesters gathered at Schiff’s local Congressional office here in Burbank to demand an end to the war in the Middle East and were present at his election reception in Hollywood where they interrupted his speech in Hollywood numerous times. Schiff however, did a good job in completing his remarks in the tough environment.

An interesting twist is that while Schiff led for the Senate Seat’s six-year term 33.2% to 32,4%, it was Garvey who had a stronger lead over Schiff in the unexpired term to fill the seat vacated with the death of Dianne Feinstein in 2023.

With Schiff leaving his Senate seat, the race was wide open with two locals, Burbank’s State Senator, Anthony Portantino, up against Burbank’s Assemblymember, Laura Friedman, among 12 others. With the top two moving on, it looks like Friedman has the upper hand with 22,296 votes, with Alex Belekian running second with 17,137 votes and Burbank resident Portantino trailing in third at 11.471.

Anthony Portantino who is running for Congress is gathered with Former Glendale City Councilman Ardy Kassakhian and his wife Ellen and daughter at his Watch Party. ( Photo by Ross A Benson)

Burbank Mayor Nick Schultz, who made it to the November runoff and finished second with 14,931 votes, is trying to replace Friedman in the 44th Assembly District. He will square off against Tony Rodriguez, who came in first with 17,868 votes.

In the L. A. County Supervisor’s Race for District 5, Kathreen Barger has a commanding lead with 119,926 votes (59.94%) and will probably not face a runoff with over 50% of the vote. Burbank Councilmember Konstantine Anthony made a good showing, running third of the five candidates with 17.806 votes cast. While this will knock Anthony out, it will give him some momentum if he chooses to run next time Bargar terms out, and the seat will be wide open.

An interesting aspect is that with California’s open election, people were not bound by party. Still, most races look like they are coming down to a Democrat vs. Republican going into the General Election. In most races, a single Republican was running against multiple Demoncrats, and the votes were probably split between the candidates.

(Photo by Ross A Benson)

The general opinion is that once the field is whittled down to just two candidates, the Democrats will have the advantage, with 53% of the ballots going to Democratic voters while 10% goes to independents. Republican voters only make up 29%, so a Republican candidate will need to win over independent voters as well as lure some Democrats if they hope to win in November. This was the tragedy that Schiff used in the Primary focusing ads against Garvey, whom he had hoped to face in November. No Republican has won in California since 1988, when Pete Wilson won his Senate race.

One aspect that may change things is voter turnout. The Primary saw a pitiful turnout of about 16% of voters casting ballots and of those, 66% were mail-in ballots. One large reason is most people did not take the time to vote because the Presidential contest has already been set. A Presidential general election usually sees a turnout of around 50% or better.

Anthony Portantino, who is running for Congress, gathers with his wife Ellen ( Rt) and supporters during his Watch Party. ( Photo by Ross A Benson)

When these results are announced as final next week (ballots that were mailed up through March 5 have yet to be counted), Burbank’s Mayor, Schultz, will move on to the General election, which means he is unable to run again for the Burbank City Council, leaving his seat open. Anthony, who also has his term expiring this year, will be able to run again if he chooses, although he did make a comment at a recent Council meeting that he would not. However, no official announcement has been made.

In addition to the races above, voters will decide on the two Burbank City Council seats. Realtor Chris Rizzotti and retired Assistant City Manager Judie Wilke have already officially announced their candidacy.