California Target Book

43rd Assembly District

Mike Gatto (D)



President '08
President '12
U.S. Senator '12
Assembly '12
Obama (D)
McCain (R)
Obama (D-Inc)
Romney (R)
Feinstein (D-Inc)
Emken (R)
Gatto (D-Inc)
Krikorian (R) 
Governor '10
Governor '14
Secretary of State '14
Assembly '14
Brown (D)
Whitman (R)
Brown (D-Inc)
Kashkari (R)
Padilla (D)
Peterson (R)
Gatto (D-Inc)
Royal (R)

LOCATION: Cities of Burbank, Pasadena, Glendale, La Cañada Flintridge and the Los Angeles neighborhoods of Los Feliz, Silver Lake and portions of the Hollywood Hills. DISTRICT MAP | DISTRICT PROFILE

ETHNIC POPULATION (2010 Census):  Latino 23%; Asian 16%; Black 2%; White (non-Hispanic) 56% 

VOTER REGISTRATION (Jul '16) Dem 46.91%; Rep 21.66%; NPP 26.99% - Total Voters 270,050
    Permanent vote-by-mail voters 32%
    Ethnic voter registration: Latino 17%; Asian 11% (Korean 3%; Filipino 4%); Armenian 15%


P12: Dem 44.15%; Rep 26.22%; NPP 24.15%; TURNOUT: 21.37%; Total Registered: 235,217
G12: Dem 44.42%; Rep 25.36%; NPP 21.75%; TURNOUT: 63.22%; Total Registered: 245,038
P14: Dem 44.32%; Rep 23.71%; NPP 19.42%; TURNOUT: 18.72%; Total Registered: 257,619
G14: Dem 44.17%; Rep 23.40%; NPP 27.33%; TURNOUT: 31.93%; Total Registered: 257,929


Born: October 19, 1974

Term limit: 2016
Committee memberships

 was elected to the Assembly in a June 2010 Special Election (see incumbent’s election history below). At the time, he was an attorney with the law firm of Mayer Brown and a longtime political activist. 


Gatto is termed out in 2016. After initially declaring his intent to run for the state Senate seat that Carol Liu must give up due to term limits (see SD25), he withdrew and transferred the funds raised to a 2018 account.  Following Treasurer John Chiang's announcement that he was running for Governor in 2018, Gatto announced that he would run for Treasurer in 2018. Year-end 2015 statements show him with $2M at his disposal, putting him in a strong position for 2018.

INCUMBENT RATINGS: LCV 91; SC 78; PP 100; EQ 100; CLF 100; CTA 94; UDW 89; HS 89; LCC 71; CFC 78; CMTA 20; CCC 46.2; CTAX 57.14; HJTA 44; CRI 25; NRA 7; ACU 17

CAMPAIGN 2016Asm. Mike Gatto is termed out in 2016. He initially entered the race for SD25, but withdrew for personal reasons. Upon Treasurer John Chiang's announcement that he would run for governor in 2018, Gatto announced he would run for that office instead. Five Democrats, two Republicans, and one American Independent Party candidate ran in the primary to succeed him. Claiming 31.89% of the total, the top vote-getter in the primary was Democratic Glendale Council member Laura Friedman. Friedman led the field in fundraising, having taken in $634,000 in the run-up to the primary. She also benefited from over $1.2 million in supportive independent expenditure spending, with over $1 million coming from the Parent Teacher Alliance, a committee sponsored by the California Charter Schools Association Advocates. Clocking in at 24.3%, the number two spot went to Democratic Glendale City Clerk Ardy Kassakhian. Kassakhian spent $600,000 during the primary, and benefited from over $428,000 in IE spending, with the bulk coming from the CA Association of Realtors ($252,000) and the CA Apartment Association ($117,000), and the CA Teachers Association ($12,000). The number three spot went to retired Republican major general Mark MacCarley, who earned 15.86%. MacCarley raised $38,000 and put in a modest effort during the primary, and also benefited from $16,000 in supportive spending from the Chamber of Commerce-backed JOBSPAC IE, but he was hobbled by the late entry of a second Republican who raised no money and appears to have made little attempt to campaign. Even without the second GOP candidate, however, the outcome would have remained the same. In 2012, Republican Greg Krikorian won 21,000 votes in the primary which was good for 44.34%. This year, the two Republican candidates combined to receive over 23,000 votes, but high Democratic turnout brought the combined GOP share down to less than half that at 22.11%. The number four spot went to Democratic La Canada USD board member Andrew Blumenfeld, who raised over $200,000 but captured just 12.75% of the vote. Fifth place went to Republican businesswoman and political unknown Alexandra Bustamante (6.25%).  Democrat Dennis R. Bullock (4.11%), Dean of Students at Providence High School, captured the sixth spot. Democrat Rajiv Dalal, the former director of the Office of Motion Picture & Television Production for L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti, claimed the number seven spot, earning 3.04% of the vote despite raising over $500,000, including $100,000 from his own pocket. Finishing eighth was AIP candidate Aaron Cervantes (1.79%). This race was one of five to exceed $2 million in independent expenditures, with the charter schools groups supporting Friedman and attacking Kassakhian, the CA Teachers Association-backed candidate. With the two Democrats advancing to a same-party November runoff, the proxy battle between the deep-pocketed interest groups is likely to intensify, and this could prove to be one of the most expensive races of the cycle. Turnout in the primary will be at least 39.09%.

2016 Primary Ballot

Andrew Blumenfeld (D) Public School Teacher 
Dennis R Bullock (D) Educator
Alexandra Bustamante (R) Businesswoman
Aaron Cervantes (AIP) No Ballot Designation
Rajiv Dalal (D) Nonprofit Executive Director
Laura Friedman (D) Glendale City Councilmember
Ardy Kassakhian (D) City Clerk for the City of Glendale
Mark MacCarley (R) Retired Army General

ANDREW BLUMENFELD is president of the La Cañada Unified School District Board of Governors and a fifth grade teacher in Los Angeles. He was elected to the Board in 2012 at the age of 20, while attending his final year at Princeton University.   Political Consultants: Michael Trujillo, Andrew Lewis, Nicole Ward, Miyuki Miyagi; Finance Director: Kayleigh McCarthy; Media Consultant: Bill Burton (SKDKnickerbocker)

DENNIS BULLOCK, a native of Burbank, is the Dean of Students at Providence High School, which is his alma mater. He received a bachelor’s in Political Science from USC and a master’s in Politics from Claremont Graduate University. He and his wife, Mary, an Armenian American, have two young children.  

RAJIV DALAL, who has put $100,000 of his own money into his campaign, is the executive director of the Tom Sherak MS Hope Foundation and former director of the Office of Motion Picture & Television Production for L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti.  He once ran the MPAA’s Indian office. He earned his bachelor’s from Georgetown University, and graduate degrees from Columbia University School of International & Public Affairs, Georgetown University Law Center, and the University of Oxford. He and his wife, Divya, who works in licensing at Disney, reside in La Cañada Flintridge. ENDORSEMENTS: Rep. Ami Bera; Campaign Manger: Michael Soneff; Political Consultants: Erik Deutsch (Excel PR Group), Maclen Zilber (Shallman Communications), Brian VanRiper (Method Campaign Services); Fundraising: Daniel C. Weitzman, Austin/Egoscue Development; Polling: Fairbanks, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates.

LAURA FRIEDMANwho put $30,000 of her own money into her campaign, is a member of the Glendale City Council, first elected in 2009.  She was raised in South Florida and received her bachelor’s in Philosophy and Film from the University of Rochester. She moved to Los Angeles in 1993 to work at Paramount Pictures. She had a 15-year career as an independent producer and entertainment executive. For the past ten years, she has been the sole proprietor of her own business, dealing in vintage jewelry, fine and decorative arts. She and her husband, Guillaume Lemoine, a professional landscape designer, live in Glendale. ENDORSEMENTS: Outgoing Asm. Mike Gatto, State Sens. Fran Pavley and Carol Liu; Asm. Richard Bloom; the California Nurses Association. Political consultants: Parke Skelton (SG&A Campaigns), Adam Berkowitz (Adam Berkowitz Consulting); Fundraising: Drew Cartwright (AMB Fund Raising Consulting), Bertolina & Barnato; Polling: Goodwin Simon Strategic Research, Juan de Leon Research

ARDY KASSAKHIAN has been the Glendale City Clerk since 2005. Born in Boston, his family moving to Glendale while he was a child.  He attended Glendale High School. He attended UCLA, where he studied history, with a special emphasis on Armenia and the Near East. Prior to his election as city clerk, he worked with the public relations firm of Stoorza, Ziegaus & Metzger and later as the executive director of Western U.S. offices of the Armenia National Committee of America. Campaign finance reports show him raising over $170,000 during the later part of 2014. Supt. of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson has endorsed Kassakhian. Campaign Manager: Hrag Yedalian; Political Consultant: Rose Kapolczynski, Renee Nahum (Renee Nahum & Associates); Fundraising: Kegeyan-Pappas Consulting; Polling: EMC Research.

MARK MAC CARLEY (R) is a retired major general who served as the U.S. Army's Deputy Chief of Staff and is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. MacCarley is currently a managing attorney for MacCarley & Rosen, a legal/consulting firm specializing in real estate, intellectual property, international business issues, military and veterans affairs, and also consulting on international transactions in the Middle East and China. He previously ran for Assembly in 2000, finishing 4th in a March 7th special election to succeed Scott Wildman, who gave up his seat in an unsuccessful run for state Senate. MacCarley received his bachelor's from CSU Northridge, an MBA from University of Massachusetts-Amherst, and his JD from Loyola Law School.  He currently resides in Glendale.

ALEXANDRA BUSTAMANTE (R) is a political unknown who resides in Burbank. More information will be provided as it becomes available.

AARON CERVANTES (AIP) is a political unknown who resides in Los Angeles. More information will be provided as it becomes available.

CAMPAIGN FINANCE REPORTS: Blumenfeld • Bullock • Bustamante • Cervantes • Dalal • Friedman • Kassakhian • MacCarley

Independent Expenditure Activity in General (Updated 08-31): TOTAL IE SPENDING $95,218.36

Parent Teacher Alliance, sponsored by California Charter Schools Association Advocates Independent Expenditure Committee $95,218.36 IN SUPPORT OF Laura Friedman

Independent Expenditure Activity in Primary: TOTAL IE SPENDING $2,045,114.11


Parent Teacher Alliance, sponsored by California Charter Schools Association Advocates Independent Expenditure Committee $1,074,418.59 IN SUPPORT OF Laura Friedman
Parent Teacher Alliance, sponsored by California Charter Schools Association Advocates Independent Expenditure Committee $355,263.92 IN OPPOSITION TO Ardy Kassakhian

Planned Parenthood Advocacy Project Los Angeles County Action Fund $19,360.33 IN SUPPORT OF Laura Friedman (I)

California State Council of Service Employees Political Committee $24,941.00 IN SUPPORT OF Ardy Kassakhian

California Apartment Association Independent Expenditure Committee $117,185.50 IN SUPPORT OF Ardy Kassakhian

California Teachers Association Independent Expenditure Committee $11,930.50 IN SUPPORT OF Ardy Kassakhian
California Teachers Association Independent Expenditure Committee $35,791.50 IN OPPOSITION TO Laura Friedman

Los Angeles County Federation of Labor AFL-CIO Council on Political Education $21,429.94 IN SUPPORT OF Ardy Kassakhian


Spirit of Democracy California $1,645.00 IN SUPPORT OF Mark J. MacCarley


CAMPAIGN 2014: Asm. Mike Gatto and Republican Todd Royal, a graduate student at Pepperdine University and a Los Angeles area political activist, were the only candidates in the June Primary. Gatto easily outpolled Royal 67% to 33% in the Primary and by nearly the same margin in the November runoff election.   


CAMPAIGN 2012: Gatto outpolled his sole opponent in the June Primary (56% - 44%), Republican Greg Krikorian, an elected member of the Glendale school board and self-described political moderate.


Krikorian put in a modest effort in the November runoff, raising and spending about $200,000.

He ran 10 points ahead of Romney, most likely due to crossover votes he received from the district’s large Armenian American community. But this district is much too Democratic to elect any type of Republican. 

INCUMBENT’S ELECTION HISTORY: MIKE GATTO was elected to the Assembly in a June 8, 2010 Special Election to fill the unexpired Assembly term of Paul Krekorian, who resigned his Assembly seat after being elected to the Los Angeles City Council.


Three Democrats entered the April 13, 2010 Special Primary Election. Gatto was the top vote getter with 32% of the vote. He outpolled Nayiri Nahabedian (22%), a member of the Glendale USD school board, and Cahe Keuroghelian (15%), a small business owner and former press director for the Glendale Police Dept. The sole Republican on the ballot was Sunder Ramani, an India-born owner of an interior construction company and one-time chair of the Burbank Chamber of Commerce, who received 31% of the vote.


Because no candidate received a majority of the votes cast, a Special Runoff Election was held on June 8 (the same day as the statewide June Primary Election) between Democrat Gatto and Republican Ramani, with Gatto being elected with 59% of the vote. June 30 campaign finance reports show Gatto spent $312,164 during the special election and Ramani spent $282,400.


On the same day, both Gatto and Ramani won their respective party’s nominations to run in the November 2010 General Election.  Ramani was unopposed in the GOP Primary. Gatto received 81% of the Democratic vote, Nahabedian received 14%, and Keuroghelian received 5%, though the latter two did officially drop out of the race.


Gatto, now running as the incumbent, again faced Sunder Ramani in the November election. But this time around, Ramani did not seriously contest the race – spending less than $40,000 – allowing Gatto to have an easy 66% - 34% win.

DISTRICT PROFILE: Burbank, the “new Hollywood,” also known as the ‘Media Capital of the World’ is just 12 miles north of Downtown Los Angeles and over hill from Hollywood. Entertainment companies located here include Warner Bros. Entertainment, Warner Music Group, NBC Universal, The Walt Disney Company and ABC.  It is considered the gateway to the San Fernando Valley with the Verdugo Mountains on its eastern edge and the rest of the city on the flatlands at the eastern beginning of the Valley.


This district also includes Glendale, the affluent community of La Canada Flintridge at its northern edge, and at its southern edge Los Feliz, part of the Hollywood Hills and the bohemian neighborhood of Silver Lake. Glendale’s large Armenian-American population makes up over a quarter of its population. 


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