By Karen Ocamb
The Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk
is expected to complete the outstanding vote count from the Nov. 6 elections Monday. But the 1,536 vote difference between incumbent Betsy Butler and Santa Monica Mayor Richard Bloom on Friday, Nov. 30, was significant enough for Butler to call Bloom and concede their contentious race for the 50th Assembly
“It was an honor to have the amount of support I received and I look forward to working with the people of the 50th Assembly District in the future. I called Richard Bloom and wished him congratulations and good luck,” Butler told me on Sunday.
As a result of redistricting, Assembly Speaker John A. Perez asked Butler not to run against fellow Democrat Steve Bradford in the new 62nd AD and to move into the progressive 50th AD, which included a small portion of her current 53rd AD, Malibu, Santa Monica, the Westside and West Hollywood. Supporters of Butler’s opponent Torie Osborn called Butler a “carpetbagger” during the primary and said she should have moved into the new 66th AD. However, Democratic polls thought former prosecutor Al Muratsuchi would have had a better chance in that more conservative, more Asian district against rich, self-funded Republican Craig Huey. They were right. Muratsuchi handily beat Huey 54.7 percent vs 45.3 percent.
Steve Bradford also won in the 62nd—trouncing fellow Democrat Mervin Evans 72.2 percent to 27.8 percent. That means the freshman class being sworn in today, while a supermajority for Democrats—will now have three more conservative Assemblymembers, including Bloom, who tends to represent business interests over Butler’s progressive representation of the LGBT community (Butler is a longtime Boardmember for Equality California), women and the environment.
Indeed, as L.A. County Democratic Party Chair Eric Bauman pointed out here—the smear campaign targeting Butler was financed by the Western Growers Association determined to unseat her because she wrote AB 2346—a bill for the United Farmer Workers that would have made farmers and labor contractors accountable for heat-related illnesses of their workers.
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