RIVERSIDE (CNS) – Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez is poised Wednesday to move to the upper house of the Legislature after defeating Riverside County Board of Education member Elizabeth Romero in a special election in the 28th Senate District.
Melendez, R-Lake Elsinore, received 95,378 votes, 55.9%, to 75,248, 44.1%, for Romero, a Democrat, according to semi-official results from the vote- by-mail election released by the Riverside County Registrar of Voters early Wednesday.
The special election was prompted by Republican Jeff Stone’s resignation Nov. 1 to become the western regional director of the U.S. Department of Labor.
Melendez topped the field of five in the March 3 primary.
Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an executive order two weeks later directing that the special election involving the two candidates be conducted exclusively by absentee ballot as part of state’s coronavirus mitigation effort.
Melendez, who has represented the 67th Assembly District since 2012, campaigned on her anti-tax record, public safety advocacy and pro-job growth positions.
The U.S. Navy veteran and mother of five said that if elected, she would seek improvements to the state’s water storage infrastructure and will “stand up to special interests to protect small businesses and push for more good paying jobs.”
Melendez has been a staunch supporter of President Donald Trump and a frequent critic of Newsom, particularly during the coronavirus state of emergency, saying in one recent tweet that Newsom is “ruling by fiat” through some of the unilateral directives he has issued.
Romero said healthcare access and higher education opportunities would be among her top priorities if elected.
She vowed to “bring emerging job sectors to Riverside County, including clean energy, healthcare and advanced manufacturing high-wage jobs that provide healthcare benefits and retirement security.”
Romero cited her work on the staffs on the staffs of late county Supervisors Roy Wilson and John Benoit as a reason for voters to support her.