Perez would be one of the most powerful gay politicians in the nation.
It's a surprising rise for the first-term assemblyman, but with fellow Assemblyman Kevin de Leon apparently aggreeing to drop out of the race, Perez appears to be a shoe-in.
And sure enough, Assembly's Democratic caucus elected Perez as their new speaker Thursday afternoon.
A floor vote of the entire Assembly, set for January, is needed before he'll get the title, but that formality does not appear to be a barrier to Perez taking the job.
Perez is the cousin of Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.