Iranian Americans in the 2010 California Primary Elections
Manssourian wins while Ameli is set for runoff in November
June 9, 2010, Los Angeles, C.A. – Four Iranian Americans were running for elected office in the June 8th California Primary elections. All four candidates were running for county offices: Andre Manssourian and Mark Ameli for Superior Court Judge, Elle Falahat for Contra Costa District Attorney, and Siavash Gharib for Los Angeles County Assessor. Of the four candidates, Andre Manssourian was successful in his bid for Superior Court Judge of Orange County while Falahat and Gharib fell short in their bids for elective office. Winning over 93,000 votes, Ameli is set for a November runoff election for the position of Superior Court Judge of Los Angeles County.
Andre Manssourian – An Iranian-Armenian who immigrated to Los Angeles in 1977, Manssourian made history last night by becoming the second person to be elected to the Superior Court of Orange County to have roots from Iran. He received a total of 57% of the vote compared to his opponent’s 42%. Manssourian has been an attorney for nearly thirteen years and is currently a Deputy District Attorney assigned to the elite Special Prosecutions Unit of the Orange County District Attorney’s Office. His campaign focused on public safety and victim’s rights. Manssourian was endorsed by the current Orange County District Attorney, Tony Rackauckas, as well as former California Governors George Deukemjian and Pete Wilson. Manssourian also received endorsements from State Senators Mimi Walters, Tom Harman, and Lou Correa, in addition to the endorsements of three Orange County Supervisors and Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens.
Mark Ameli – With final result in from Los Angeles County’s heated race for Superior Court Judge Office 28, Ameli came in second place with 15% of the vote, while his top opponent, Randy Hammock, garnered 22% of the total vote. Ameli and Hammock will face each other in a runoff election in November. Since 1994, Ameli has served as a judge pro tem in the Los Angeles Superior Court. He was also appointed by the Superior Court of the State of California as an arbitrator and mediator in the Judicial Arbitration and Mediation Program. Ameli is the founder of Iranian American Lawyers Association and is the chairperson of the Iranian American Sheriff’s Advisory Council. Ameli’s campaign received endorsements from the Metropolitan News as well as U.S. Congressman Henry Waxman (30th District of California). In addition, Ameli received endorsements from both the Mexican American Bar Association and the Los Angeles County Democratic Party.
Elle Falahat – Iranian American Falahat aimed to make history by becoming the first ever female district attorney for Contra Costa County. In her bid for the top prosecutor’s job in Contra Costa County, Falahat received over 20,000 votes and came in third place. Raised in Santa Clara County California, Falahat received her bachelor’s degree from San Jose State and her law degree from Lincoln University. She worked as a Deputy District Attorney in the Ventura County District Attorney’s office and currently runs her own private practice. Her campaign was focused on bringing much needed reform to the Contra Costa District Attorney’s office by addressing issues such as inefficient management, high staff turnover, and poor resource management. Her campaign was supported by Greg Jacobs, the lead prosecutor in the Polly Klaas case, as well as Ventura County District Attorney Michael Bradbury.
Siavash Gharib – A Principal Appraiser and an 18 year veteran of the Los Angeles County Assessor’s Office, Gharib was one of 12 candidates running in the hotly contested campaign for Los Angeles County Assessor. In the election, he received a total of 11,418 votes. Gharib campaigned on a platform of modernizing and bringing efficiency to the Assessor’s Office, and improving the service to taxpayers. He has a Ph.D. in Petroleum Engineering and has been involved with the valuation of oil and gas properties for several years. Gharib was also an energy project finance officer for a multinational financial institution prior to his role with the Assessor’s Office.