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|Santa Monica Mayor Holds Second a Week after Primary|
By Jason Islas
June 13, 2012-- One week after the polls closed, Santa Monica Mayor Richard Bloom is still a strong second in the primary for the 50th Assembly district, despite a widening gap between him and incumbent Betsy Butler.
As County officials continue to count mail-in and provisional ballots, the Butler has widened her lead over Bloom from 102 votes to 322. The mayor, however, has kept his lead of more than 600 votes over community organizer Torie Osborn, who remains in third place over Republican candidate Bradly Torgan.
Only the candidates who finish in the top two spots will be on November's ballot to represent the newly drawn district that also includes Malibu, Bel Air, Brentwood, West Hollywood, Hollywood and Pacific Palisades.
“I'm encouraged,” said Bloom. “And I know that we're nearing the end” of the vote counting process.
Bloom has managed to retain his strong showing, although Santa Monica, with its population of approximately 90,000, makes up only about 18 percent of the new district.
Osborn had managed to gain the support of the Santa Monica Democratic Club and, more importantly, Santa Monicans for Renters' Rights (SMRR), which has backed Bloom in all of his local campaigns. ("Santa Monicans for Renters' Rights Snubs Bloom, Endorses Osborn," March 26, 2012)
Osborn also won the backing of former State Senator Sheila Kuehl, State Assembly member Julia Brownley, former Santa Monica Mayor Dennis Zane and the Malibu, and West Hollywood Democratic Clubs.
Bloom was endorsed by the Santa Monbica Police and Firefighters' Associations, as well as the Mayor of Malibu, among others.
Butler, who still leads the pack with almost 15,000 votes, currently represents 53rd Assembly district, which covers the coastal cities of El Segundo, Manhattan Beach, Redondo Beach, Marina del Rey, and Torrance.
This is California's first time using 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 -- could 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.
There are only three other states – Louisiana, Washington, and Alaska -- that use the “top two” system, also known as the “Cajun primary” because it was first used in Louisiana.
“It's been a long primary season,” said Bloom. “I'll be relieved when it's over.”
According to County officials, counting the votes could another three weeks.
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