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|Santa Monica Mayor Richard Bloom Makes Assembly Ballot|
By Jason Islas
June 6, 2012 -- Santa Monica Mayor Richard Bloom finished second in Tuesday's State Assembly primary and will face winner Betsy Butler in the November race to represent the newly drawn 50th District, pending a final vote count.
Community organizer Torie Osborn, a relative unknown in the beachside city who was endorsed by Santa Monicans for Renters Rights (SMRR) and the Santa Monica Democratic Club, finished third.
With all precincts reporting, Betsy Butler won with 12,519 votes (25.9 percent), followed by Bloom with 12,417 (25.6 percent), Osborn with 11,744 (24.3 percent) and Bradly S. Torgan, the only Republican in the race, with 11,730 (24.2 percent).
The results do not include provisional and mail-in ballots yet to be counted. It could take up to 30 days to tally those votes.
Only 775 votes separated the top three finishers, all Democrats, in an election that saw unusually low voter turnout. 50th State Assembly District primary. Results here.
Under California's new primary system, the top two vote finishers face off in the general election regardless of party affiliation.
Bloom's entry into the November ballot assures that he will not seek re-election to the Santa Monica City Council, likely leaving two of the four open seats for the taking. Incumbent Bobby Shriver is also not expected to run.
Bloom's showing is a blow to SMRR, Santa Monica's powerful tenants' group, which snubbed a mayor they had long backed for a political newcomer with no track record in the beachside city. ("Santa Monicans for Renters' Rights Snubs Bloom, Endorses Osborn," March 26, 2012)
Bloom's strong showing surprised many political observers, since Santa Monica, with its population of approximately 90,000, makes up only about 18 percent of the new district, which also includes Malibu, Bel Air, Brentwood, West Hollywood, Hollywood and Pacific Palisades.
In addition to SMMR's endorsement, Osborn had the backing of former State Senator Sheila Kuehl, State Assembly member Julia Brownley, former Santa Monica Mayor Dennis Zane and the Santa Monica, Malibu, and West Hollywood Democratic Clubs.
Bloom's supporters included 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 backed Butler.
Osborn, a community organizer, has run a campaign that focuses on her position as a political outsider, calling her opponent, Butler, “a Sacramento insider backed by an old-style political machine.”
Butler, the incumbent, currently represents the 53rd State Assembly
District, which covers the coastal cities of El Segundo, Manhattan Beach,
Redondo Beach, Marina del Rey, and Torrance.
This election cycle, California was the first state to try out the “top two” primary system, which allows voters to choose any candidate, regardless of party affiliation, in legislative and congressional primaries.
As a result, members of the same party -- as is the case with Butler and Bloom, who are both Democrats -- will find themselves facing off again in November.
The new rules were adopted in 2010, when California voters approved Proposition 14, the Top Two Primaries Act.
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