UCLA Prof. Ernest Morrell has announced on his Facebook page that he has abandoned plans to run for the Democratic nomination in the 37th Assembly District -- a development that likely means schoolteacher and Saudi Arabian immigrant Ferial Masry will now have a clear field in the primary to become the party's nomination for the fourth straight time.
Another candidate who had expressed an interest, Pleasant Valley School District Trustee Warren Harwood now intends to run for county treasurer instead.
The district is believed to be potentially competitive by strategists from both parties. The seat will be open, as incumbent Audra Strickland is termed out. And although Republicans enjoy a 5 percentage point advantage among registered voters, Strickland beat Masry by only 4 points in 2008.
This time, Masry's likely opponent will be Republican Jeff Gorell, an attorney and former county prosecutor. As with Masry, it appears that Gorell will be uncontested in his party's primary.