Former Aide Succeeds California Assemblywoman After Election

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A former senior adviser to a state lawmaker replaced her in the California Legislature on Friday after squeaking through a special election this month.

Isaac Bryan needed at least half the votes in a six-way contest May 18 to avoid a runoff election in Los Angeles County's 54th Assembly District.

He received 50.8% of the tally, according to the Secretary of State's office.

Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon swore him into office Friday to succeed Sydney Kamlager, who had endorsed her former adviser.

“Isaac Bryan has worked his way from a disadvantaged past to a successful present. That is not unique, but is important,” Rendon said in his introduction. “California must help those who are disadvantaged in the present to reach a successful future. Isaac Bryan will help us get there.”

Bryan is one of nine adopted children in a family of 15, according to his campaign biography.

“My siblings and I faced barrier upon barrier to success and opportunity,” he wrote. He flunked out of middle school and took a roundabout route to become the only one in his family to attend college. Two of his siblings are now homeless, and he struggled to pay his rent.

He eventually earned a master's degree in public policy analysis. Among other initiatives and accomplishments, he serves on the Los Angeles Unified School District’s redistricting commission.

Kamlager moved to the state Senate in March to replace fellow Democrat Holly Mitchell, who left in mid-term after she was elected to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors in November.

Bryan was among five Democrats and one independent who sought her vacant seat.

Democrats make up 64% of registered voters in the district that includes LA’s Crenshaw and Westwood neighborhoods and Baldwin Hills, Century City and Culver City.

Heather Hutt, a former Southern California district director for U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, came in second place with 24.9% of the votes.