Rep. Jane Harman withstood an intense challenge from Marcy Winograd and Betsy Butler held off seven other contenders to win the Congressional 36th District and Assembly 53rd District Democratic primaries, respectively, on election night, Tuesday, June 8th.
Harman, a Venice resident who has served in Congress for eight terms, won 58 percent of the vote with all 393 precincts reporting. Winograd, who challenged Harman for her seat four years ago, took 41 percent of the vote, three percentage points higher than in 2006.
Harvey Englander, Harman’s campaign consultant, said the election results were definitive about who voters in the 36th District, which stretches from Venice and Marina del Rey to the South Bay, wanted to represent their concerns on a national level without a certain political philosophy.
“The election results show that the voters of the 36th Congressional District want a representative who works hard at saving and creating jobs, protecting the environment, strongly supports choice and gay rights, and respects the aerospace legacy of the district,” Englander said in a statement. “The voters of the 36th District do not support ideologically driven candidates, whether from the right or from the left.”
The campaign consultant said Winograd, who often characterized the congresswoman as a candidate who represents corporate interests, did not convince the electorate that she was the better candidate, despite her assertions to the contrary.
“The opponent spent four years campaigning for this seat. She spent the past 18 months attacking Rep. Harman’s record and her integrity. By her own account, the opponent claims to have spent almost half a million dollars, yet she received about the same percentage of votes as her previous campaign four years ago,” Englander said. “The election results prove that Rep. Harman’s record and her reputation is strongly supported by the voters.”
Winograd, a Los Angeles Unified School District teacher, congratulated Harman by e-mail on her victory.
“It was apparent that the majority of the voters in our district who voted to support (Harman) appreciate what she has done in Congress,” Winograd said in an interview the day after the election.
The Winograd campaign feels the low voter turnout was one factor that hampered their efforts to best the incumbent.
Winograd said she would stay involved in national politics in some form in the future.
“I don’t envision another run for office at the moment, but I can foresee myself supporting a progressive candidate for Congress who is willing to challenge the leadership from time to time,” she said.
Butler, a Marina del Rey resident, topped her closest contender, Venice resident James Lau, by almost nine percentage points, 26.7 to 17.8. She will face Republican Nathan Mintz and third party candidates in November.
“I’ll continue to build my base in the fall and I’m hopeful that I can channel the groups that did not participate this time to come with me in November,” Butler told The Argonaut.
Eight candidates were seeking to replace Assemblyman Ted Lieu, who is leaving the Assembly due to terms limits.
The Democratic nominee, who faced a blizzard of negative advertising throughout the campaign, acknowledged that she had a high name recognition with the voters in part because of that.
“It was not what we wanted to talk about on the campaign trail, but that was what were faced with,” Butler said. “One of the first things that people asked us was why were they doing this?”
Lieu placed fourth in the race for attorney general with 11.29 percent.
State Sen. Jenny Oropeza won the Democratic nomination for Senate District 28, which includes Marina del Rey, Playa del Rey and Venice. Oropeza ran unopposed.