SMRR-backed candidates take victories in Santa Monica races

A veteran congressman overcame a hard-fought challenge to win election to a new district, and Santa Monica’s mayor narrowly leads a state legislator in the race for a new Assembly district seat, unofficial election results show.
Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder Dean Logan announced that county voter turnout was at 66.7 percent as of 8 p.m. Nov. 6, according to preliminary sampling figures. That marked a drop from 82.4 percent in the November 2008 general election.
“Overall, we saw good turnout and voter participation at the polls,” Logan said. “The success of elections relies on the community service we see across Los Angeles County. I want to say a big thank-you to the 25,000 poll workers that made the election run smoothly.”
Westside voters returned Rep. Henry Waxman to office on election night as the incumbent defeated challenger Bill Bloomfield, 53.7 percent to 46.2 in the newly formed 33rd District.
Waxman, a Democrat who trailed most of election night in his toughest battle to date, will return to Congress for his 13th term in office.
“I want to thank our community for the wonderful support,” the congressman, who has served in the House of Representatives since 1975, said in a statement. “I will do all I can to honor the extraordinary trust and confidence our district has placed in me by working closely with President Obama to solve the urgent challenges facing our nation.”
Waxman, who formerly represented Santa Monica, Malibu and Beverly Hills, now moves further south. The 33rd District covers most of the Los Angeles County coast, including parts of Santa Monica, Venice, Marina del Rey and South Bay beach cities.
Bloomfield, a Manhattan Beach businessman who ran his first race for political office, was proud of the close fight he gave to the longtime congressional representative and how voters responded to Bloomfield’s message of the need to reduce partisan politics.
“We came very close to unseating a 38-year congressman. I think we gave Congressman Waxman the toughest race of his career and people responded well to the message,” said Bloomfield, a former Republican who was running as an independent. “I’m pleased with the effort, pleased with the results and how the message was received.”
Bloomfield said he will continue to stay involved with No Labels, a national organization dedicated to reducing excessive partisanship in Congress, as well as in redistricting reform efforts.
In perhaps the closest race of the evening, Assemblywoman Betsy Butler was locked in a tight race with fellow Democrat and Santa Monica Mayor Richard Bloom in a contest for the newly drawn 50th Assembly District.
Butler trailed Bloom by a scant 218 votes with provisional ballots still to be counted.
The assesmblywoman moved from the coastal 53rd Assembly District to Santa Monica to vie for the new seat after serving her first term in Sacramento. The 50th District includes cities such as Santa Monica, Malibu, Beverly Hills and West Hollywood, as well as the Santa Monica Mountains.
“I’ve been in close races before, so we’re waiting until all the ballots are counted,” Butler said.
Although he is holding a narrow lead, Bloom, who is seeking state office after serving 13 years on the Santa Monica City Council, including multiple stints as mayor, acknowledged the outcome of the race is dependent on pending ballots.
“Mayor Bloom wants to thank his supporters, volunteers and staff. He finished the night ahead by 218 votes, but the process is not yet complete,” said campaign manager Brian Ross Adams. “Votes will be counted for the next two weeks and he, along with many others, will follow the count closely and optimistically.”
Veteran Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters earned another term by defeating challenger Bob Flores convincingly with 70.6 percent of votes in the 43rd Congressional District, which includes Westchester and Playa del Rey.
Assemblyman Steven Bradford (D-Westchester) bested Mervin Evans with 72.4 percent to 27.4 in a contest to see who will represent the newly drawn 62nd Assembly District, which includes Venice and Westchester.
Santa Monica Elections
Incumbents held their ground in Santa Monica in the elections for City Council and Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District Board of Education.
With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Councilmembers Terry O’Day and Gleam Davis were reelected with 13,057 votes and 11,605 votes, respectively.
Planning commissioner Ted Winterer, who narrowly missed out on a seat in a prior run, garnered 15.1 percent of votes and was the top vote-getter at 13,586. Tony Vazquez, who became the first Latino member elected to the council in the early 1990s, will return to the dais after winning the fourth and final open seat with 9,129 votes.
The four candidates were each backed by the city’s powerful political group, Santa Monicans for Renters’ Rights.
The three incumbent school board members, who were also supported by SMRR, fought off three challengers from Malibu seeking reform to retain their seats on the board.
With 100 percent of precincts reporting, current board President Ben Allen tallied 24.6 percent, or 17,889 votes for the top spot. He was followed by board members Maria Leon-Vazquez and Jose Escarce, who were reelected to their fourth terms, with 14,294 and 12,803 votes, respectively.
Teacher Craig Foster received the most votes of the Malibu challengers with 11,653 for fourth place.
SMRR-backed candidates were also victorious on the Rent Control Board, as attorney Christopher Walton and appointed incumbent Ilse Rosenstein took the two open seats with 9,219 and 9,130 votes respectively, unseating incumbent Robert Kronovet.
As school districts across the state have struggled with a loss of state funding in recent years, voters in Santa Monica-Malibu strongly supported a ballot measure to benefit schools. Measure ES, which will issue $385 million in bonds to improve and modernize school facilities, was approved with 67.7 percent of votes.
Measure GA, which will allow the annual rent control general adjustment to be based on 75 percent of the annual percentage change in the Consumer Price Index in Santa Monica, passed with 60.6 percent, or 13,919 votes. §