Crowded House

Assembly race gives voters lots of choices

By Steve Maviglio
March 2024

While attention is focused on mayoral and City Council races, there’s another bruising election battle underway in town, this one is for state Assembly.

The 6th District includes the city of Sacramento, Rio Linda, Antelope, Elverta, parts of North Highlands and Carmichael. It’s solid blue. Democrats enjoy a 51% to 21% registration advantage.

Yet because of the top two primary system, where the first two finishers advance to the November election regardless of party, a Republican could reach the general election if the flock of Democratic candidates split the vote March 5.

Carlos Marquez
Carlos Marquez was vice president of the California Charter Schools Association. That group is spending heavily for Marquez through its independent expenditure committee. Marquez’ background includes work as executive director of ACLU in California and president of the Sacramento LGBT Community Center. He has progressive credentials and support across the political spectrum, including former Sen. Barbara Boxer and the Metro Chamber, which endorsed both Marquez and Krell.

Evan Minton
Evan Minton was the first openly transgender person to work in the Capitol. His campaign is backed by Democrats including Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis, former state Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones and former Assembly Speaker John A. Perez. Minton stresses equity, environmental justice and housing.

Maggy Krell
Maggy Krell is a deputy attorney general and former Planned Parenthood lawyer. Her attention to public safety won endorsements from fellow Democrats Sheriff Jim Cooper and District Attorney Thien Ho, along with police and fire unions. Business groups such as the Metro Chamber of Commerce and housing developers support her. Her coalition includes progressives that cite her work protecting abortion rights and fighting sex trafficking.

Paula Villescaz
Paula Villescaz, former assistant secretary for the California Health and Human Services Agency and former president of the San Juan Unified School District board, has support from much of the Democratic establishment. She’s backed by labor unions, including the California Teachers Association and SEIU, and City Council member Katie Valenzuela. Villescaz takes a progressive stance. She lost a bid for the state Senate to Roger Niello (R-Fair Oaks).

Winnowing the field in the March election has long-term consequences. The ultimate winner will possibly serve a dozen years in the state Assembly, casting votes on housing, state budget, abortion rights, homelessness and public safety.

Preston Romero
Preston Romero is the Republican Party’s favored candidate. Before moving to Sacramento, he was the youngest county chair in Arizona Republican Party history. Romero is a legislative staffer and another of several LGBTQ candidates in the race. His chances to advance to November were hurt when another unknown Republican, Nikki Ellis, filed at the last minute.

Rosanna Herber
Rosanna Herber is a 40-year Sacramento resident and president of the SMUD Board. She’s endorsed by state Sen. Angelique Ashby, Mayor Darrell Steinberg and more than a dozen community leaders. Herber was one of the first LGBTQ leaders elected in the region. She’s focused on climate, homelessness and fiscal responsibility, staking out center-left positions.

Sean Frame
Sean Frame is a filmmaker, Democratic activist and union leader with the California School Employees Association. He’s the most progressive candidate in the contest, with endorsements from the Sierra Club and several unions. Frame was a trustee on Placerville’s school board before moving to Sacramento. He’s running as a “corporate free” candidate.

This race is pivotal for Sacramento’s future. Choose wisely.

Steve Maviglio can be reached at Follow us on Facebook and Instagram @insidesacramento.

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