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|Santa Monica Mayor Faces Tough Battle in Tuesday Primary|
By Jason Islas
June 5, 2012 -- As voters get ready to choose the top two candidates for the newly formed 50th State Assembly District, Santa Monica Mayor Richard Bloom anticipates a close race Tuesday night.
“I'm very positive and very optimistic,” said Bloom, who has spent the last several days pounding the pavement and calling constituents with his wife and two sons in order to rally supporters for the June 5 primary election.
“We're getting a lot of positive feedback,” he said, adding that “the only thing predictable about campaigning is that it's unpredictable.”
Political observers believe that Bloom will be vying to enter into a runoff with Torie Osborn, the perceived frontrunner.
They include the backing of Santa Monicans for Renters Rights (SMRR), the city's powerful tenants group that has endorsed Bloom in his council bids, and the Santa Monica Democratic Club. ("Santa Monicans for Renters' Rights Snubs Bloom, Endorses Osborn," March 26, 2012)
By comparison, Bloom and incumbent Betsy Butler have each won the backing of key politicians and employee unions.
While Bloom's high profile post as Mayor of Santa Monica should win him voter recognition, balancing his council duties with campaigning has not been easy, he said.
“The one thing that's been somewhat difficult for me is carrying out my other responsibilities,” said Bloom. “I'm exhausted, but it has been a valuable experience.
“Being mayor of Santa Monica is a big, big job... It's been a bit of a challenge. But I've had a lot of support from my family.”
Santa Monica, with its population of approximately 90,000, makes up about 18 percent of the new district, which also includes Malibu, Bel Air, Brentwood, West Hollywood, Hollywood, Miracle Mile, and the Pacific Palisades.
Osborn has couched herself as the grassroots candidate, “an activist with an MBA,” while juxtaposing herself to Butler, who is currently a representative of Assembly District 53.
Butler, the Osborn campaign headquarters contends, is “a Sacramento insider backed by an old-style political machine.”
Among those who support Butler are Assembly Speaker John A. Perez, the California Labor Federation AFL-CIO, West Hollywood Mayor John Duran, Malibu Mayor Laura Rosenthal and Santa Monica Rent Control Board Member Todd Flora, the only local official to throw his support behind Butler.
Bloom counts among his supporters the Santa Monica Firefighters and Police Officers Associations, fellow Council members Gleam Davis, Robert Holbrook, Pam O'Connor and Terry O'Day, as well as Beverly Hills Mayor Barry Brucker and Malibu Mayor Rosenthal, who also is backing Butler.
“It's going to be a close race,” said Bloom.
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