Muratsuchi, Other API Incumbents Re-elected in Midterms


Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi on Election Night with supporters (from left) Kay and Nancy Oda, Kanji Sahara and Nancy Teramura Hayata. (J.K. YAMAMOTO/Rafu Shimpo)


By J.K. YAMAMOTO and MIKEY HIRANO CULROSS, Rafu Shimpo

Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance), one of several Asian American legislative candidates in Tuesday’s midterm elections, defeated his Republican opponent and won another two-year term.

With all precincts reporting, Muratsuchi had 71,439 votes (57.77 percent) to former Torrance Mayor Frank Scotto’s 52,218 (42.23 percent).

First elected in 2012, Muratsuchi lost to Republican David Hadley in 2014, then regained his seat in 2016.

Addressing supporters at his Election Night party at the Torrance Marriott Redondo Beach, Muratsuchi said, “We have proven once and for all that lawn signs don’t vote.”

He was referring to the Scotto campaign signs that seemed to outnumber the Muratsuchi signs throughout the South Bay district.

“I want this always be a lesson in grit and tenacity, especially for my daughter Keiko,” Muratsuchi said. “She sees all those Frank Scotto signs out there and I keep telling her, ‘Don’t give up. When we believe in something, we fight for it and we keep fighting.’”


Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon praised Muratsuchi for his service. (J.K. YAMAMOTO/Rafu Shimpo)


Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood), who was first elected at the same time as Muratsuchi, recalled, “We have all spent a considerable amount of time, not only this election cycle but over the last several election cycles, trying to make sure that this area is well represented. We have been able to see … what this area looks like when it is well represented, when there’s somebody who cares about this community, when there’s somebody who wants to invest in this community, when there’s someone who wants to move these communities forward …

“I remember in 2014 we didn’t quite get the results that we wanted. And a couple of days after the election, Al and I sat down … What I remember about Al is that what he was concerned about was not himself, what he was concerned about was not his career. He was concerned about the community and concerned about the extent to which the community would be listened to and the extent to which the community would get the representation that it deserved.

“So he worked his ass off and all of you worked your asses off to make sure that Al came back, and he came back and now he’s going back again … The fact that we are sending Al Muratsuchi back to Sacramento tonight means that in a couple of years it’s going to make it that much easier for us.”

After recognizing his staff and the elected officials in attendance, including mayors Pat Furey of Torrance, Bill Brand of Redondo Beach, Jeff Duclos of Hermosa Beach and Michael Savidan of Lomita, Muratsuchi said, “These early results would not be possible without all the hard work of all the volunteers … They had to go home early because it’s a school night, but we had such an amazing crew of students … the heart and soul of our campaign.”

He concluded, “The thing that I love about the South Bay is that we have such a beautiful diversity that’s represented here in this room. Whether you live in Harbor City … Palos Verdes … Torrance … the Beach Cities … Lomita or the beautiful city of Gardena, Harbor City, Harbor Gateway, El Camino Village, we represent the beautiful diversity that is the South Bay.

“And the one thing that brought us all together, regardless of where you live in the South Bay, is that we all are here to stand up to Donald Trump. Unlike 2016 — when we had that schizophrenic night where we won our election but we lost the White House — we can celebrate … We didn’t win everything, we know there were some disappointments, but we were able to flip the House. By flipping the House, we have laid the groundwork to take our country back in 2020.”


At an Election Night party in El Monte (from left): Rep. Judy Chu, State Senate candidate Mike Eng and Assemblymember Ed Chau. (MIKEY HIRANO CULROSS/Rafu Shimpo)


Taking on Trump

The Election Night party at the Holiday Inn in El Monte bore a mood of cautious celebration, and began to break up as midnight approached with many results still not in.

Assemblymember Ed Chau (D-Monterey Park), who was running for re-election in the 49th Assembly District, thanked supporters for what he called a hard-fought battle.