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Incumbents Williams, Achadjian Leading Easily in Assembly Races

Both will face runoffs with the same opponents in November due to the open primary

Incumbent Das Williams is leading the race for the new 37th Assembly District seat, with 56 percent of the vote as of 12:30 a.m., with Los Olivos attorney Rob Walter grabbing 44 percent, according to the Secretary of State’s Office.

With redistricting, Santa Barbara County is split into two Assembly districts, with the South Coast in the 37th District, along with western Ventura County through Oxnard. Northern Santa Barbara County, including Lompoc and Vandenberg Village, are now in the 35th District with San Luis Obispo County. The numbers have changed, but boundaries are largely the same.

Williams, D-Santa Barbara, is serving his first term as Assembly member for the old 35th District.

He was challenged by Walter, a Republican, who he will face in November’s election. While Walter failed to even file campaign finance disclosure forms with the Secretary of State, Williams spent $93,500 so far this year.

Before being elected to Assembly in 2010, Williams was a Santa Barbara City Councilman, worked as a legislative aide to former Assemblywoman Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara — who is running for the state Senate — and a teacher.

Up north, Assemblyman Katcho Achadjian, R-San Luis Obispo, won 64.3 percent of the vote against Democrat Gerald “Gerry” Manata, according to the Secretary of State’s election results with all precincts reporting.

Manata, who is semi-retired and drives city buses part-time for Paso Robles, got 35.7 percent of the vote and will take on Achadjian in the fall.

Achadjian was elected to the Assembly in 2010, and previously served on many boards and commissions, including the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors, California Coastal Commission and First 5 of San Luis Obispo County. He also owns and operates gas stations in southern San Luis Obispo County.

Because of the open primary that went into effect this year, both races will be repeated in November because there were only two candidates in each, and the top two go to a runoff.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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