October 03, 2013
By Kenneth Miller
Assistant Managing Editor
The announcement that Joey Hill has bowed out of the race for California’s 54th State Assembly seat and is shifting his support in favor of leading candidate Sebastion Ridley-Thomas, is increasing the likelihood of the son of Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas winning his first election.
“I chose to withdraw from the race to avoid a split in the African American community, thereby putting the seat in jeopardy of losing Black representation,” said Hill in a recently released statement.
Hill is currently the chief of staff for Assemblyman Reggie Jones Sawyer.
Ridley-Thomas said he greatly appreciates the support he has received from numerous endorsers, including support he has received from former 54th Assembly District candidate Samuel J. “Joey” Hill.
“Joey Hill is a respected political strategist with a long tenure of public service at the state level. Joey will continue to provide our community with senior level guidance, public policy wisdom and expert political counsel as chief of staff to California State Assembly member Reginald Jones-Sawyer,” Sebastion Ridley-Thomas said.
Assembly candidate Ridley-Thomas also received some additional heady advice from his father, among the most respected elected officials in the nation.
“Things are moving in the right direction for Sebastion, a next generation leader. Joey Hill has been gracious in his decision and he is to be respected for that as he has new political plans to consider,” said Supervisor Ridley-Thomas.
He added; “My advice to Sebastion is to work hard, work smart. Don’t give up until victory is yours. In other words it ain’t over until it’s over.”
Council President Herb Wesson also has applauded the efforts of Sebastion.
"Sebastian Ridley-Thomas has the unique qualities of someone who is very well informed about our community and its needs, and the legislative experience needed to get things done in Sacramento. He will be a tremendous asset to our community and he has my strong support."
Ninth District City Councilman Curren Price, for whom Sebastion works, commended Hill on his decision.
"I'm pleased that there is a growing consensus in support of the candidacy of Sebastian Ridley-Thomas for the CA 54th Assembly District. Joey Hill's decision not to run, this time, will well position him for future consideration," said Price.
Therefore, Hill will support Ridley-Thomas, son of County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, in an effort to unite our community politically.
Governor Jerry Brown issued a declaration setting the special election in the 54th Assembly District for December 3 with a runoff set for February 4 if no candidate receives over 50% of the vote in the primary. Holly Mitchell vacated the Assembly seat when she was recently sworn into the State Senate.
Meanwhile, 54th Assembly District candidate Sebastian Ridley-Thomas surpassed the $400,000 mark in contributions and added Earvin “Magic” Johnson to a diverse and growing list of supporters.
Johnson, the all-time Lakers leader in assists in Los Angeles with 10,141, is also an influential business leader and job creator, and an owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Ridley-Thomas has also been endorsed by Congresswomen Karen Bass and Janice Hahn, his father, Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, assembly members Chris Holden, Stephen Bradford, Isadore Hall, Shirley Weber, Cheryl Brown, Toni Atkins, Mike Gatto, Bonnie Lowenthal, Adam Gray and Anthony Rendon; L.A. City Council members Curren Price, Herb Wesson, Joe Buscaino, Paul Koretz and Bill Rosendahl; L.A. School Board member Monica Garcia and former Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez.
Currently serving as Councilmember Price’s Senior Deputy for Education, Economic Development and Health, Ridley-Thomas previously served as then-Senator Price’s policy director and chief liaison to South Los Angeles clergy and faith-based organizations and political director for California Legislative Black Caucus. Prior to that, he worked with the Children’s Defense Fund and California Department of Consumer Affairs.
Sebastian Ridley-Thomas’ campaign team includes SG&A Campaigns (Parke Skelton, Steve Barkan and Mike Shimpock), Fred MacFarlane heading communications, and David Pruitt and Stephanie Daily handling fundraising.