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Dem. Assembly Candidate Pilar Schiavo Beats Republican Incumbent in Historically Conservative Santa Clarita Valley

2:07 PM PST on November 21, 2022

Community organizer Pilar Schiavo declares victory over Republican Suzette Martinez Valladares in the State Assembly District 40 race after pulling ahead of the incumbent by a mere 511 votes.

If the results hold, Schiavo will be the only democratic candidate to flip an assembly seat this election cycle, and she'll go on to represent a historically conservative region.

Via Pilar for State Assembly Campaign

Schiavo entered the race as a mother "terrified" of giving up her job to run for elected office and overcame being outspent two-to-one by her opponent and special interest groups. 

Valladares has represented Assembly District 40 for the past two years and is known for introducing a state bill to ban homelessness around schools and daycares, as well as voting against bills that support women's reproductive freedom. 

On election night, Schiavo found herself down by nearly 8,000 votes, but updates since then have largely favored the former nurse advocate and small business owner. Over the weekend she took the lead with a few hundred votes. 

Schiavo's campaign described the pending victory as a "true testament to people-power" behind her campaign.

The campaign relied heavily on face-to-face interactions with community members rather than advertising. Notably, they spent zero dollars on yard signs. The decision disappointed some supporters, but the Schiavo campaign felt strongly that "yard signs don't win elections. Talking to voters does."

"Our whole campaign, we prioritized talking with voters, and it’s clear every conversation mattered—every door knocked, every phone call, and our secret weapon on a rainy Election Day, my mom’s warm homemade cookies to help keep volunteers going until polls closed," Schiavo said in a statement Monday.

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