In an act of defiance against the political conventional wisdom regarding the outcome of the newly created 50th Assembly District primary, Santa Monica Mayor Richard Bloom joined incumbent Assemblywoman Betsy Butler in the winner’s circle after a June 5 photo finish.
By a razor thin margin, Butler bested Bloom by 102 votes, with 12,519 for 25.9 percent to 12,417 for 25.6 percent in a four-person race. The two Democrats will square off in the general election on Nov. 6.
Since the enactment of Proposition 14 in June 2010, the first two candidates with the most votes will move to the general election if no one receives more than 50 percent in the primary.
Santa Monica resident and Democrat Torie Osborn, whom many political observers thought would prevail as one of the top two contenders, came in third place with 24.4 percent and Republican Brad Torgan was slightly behind her with 24.2.
In a further indication how tight the Assembly contest was, Osborn, a nonprofit executive, only had 14 more votes than Torgan, a West Hollywood land use attorney, 11,744 to 11,730.
Osborn raised a substantial amount of funds and arguably had some of the most significant endorsements, including those of former Assemblywoman Julia Brownley (D-Santa Monica), Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
Yet Bloom had few endorsements that were seen as high profile.
Allan Hoffenblum of the Target Book, a subscription service that tracks and analyzes all federal and state legislative races in California, told The Argonaut last month he thought Osborn would be among the top two finalists.
“I think there’s a better than even chance that it will be Butler and Osborn,” he predicted.
The new district, which includes Santa Monica, Malibu and West Hollywood, is a largely liberal-leaning district. Democrats make up approximately 53 percent of registered voters, with 24 percent declined to state and 19 percent are Republicans.
Butler moved into the 50th after a state redistricting commission redrew the legislative boundary lines. Supporters of Osborn encouraged the assemblywoman to run in the new South Bay District, which was once part of Butler’s coastal 53rd Assembly District and included Venice, Marina del Rey and Mar Vista.
In other local races, Assemblyman Steven Bradford won the seat in the new 62nd Assembly District, which includes Marina del Rey and Mar Vista.
In the race for the new 33rd Congressional District, longtime Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Santa Monica) took 45 percent of the vote against seven challengers. Waxman, who formerly represented the 30th congressional district, won 40,383 votes. His closest competitor was Bill Bloomfield, who had 21,831 votes for 24.6 percent.
The 33rd includes Playa Vista and Playa del Rey and portions of Venice, Santa Monica and Marina del Rey.