Capps and Maldonado win in Central Coast House district
Republicans and Democrats will battle this fall over a newly drawn congressional district where Rep. Lois Capps (D-Santa Barbara) and former Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado (R-Santa Maria) were the top vote-getters in Tuesday's primary election.
A serious reelection challenge to Capps was almost assured after an independent commission last summer redrew her district, which was once Democrat-friendly but was also derided as the "ribbon of shame" for its blatantly gerrymandered shape along the coast.
In the new district, Democrats have only a slight edge over Republicans, 39%-35%, and a fifth of voters are not affiliated with a political party.
Maldonado, a former state senator who angered members of his own party by voting in 2009 to raise taxes to help erase a state budget deficit, had the backing of Republican leaders for the congressional race.
A more conservative Republican candidate, actor Chris Mitchum, son of the late actor Robert Mitchum, campaigned on a hard line against illegal immigration, the Obama healthcare plan and more taxes.
Also on the ballot in the 24th Congressional District was law student Matt Boutte, who ran with no party preference.
Photo: Rep. Lois Capps (D-Santa Barbara), left,former Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado (R-Santa Maria), middle, GOP actor Chris Mitchum of Santa Barbara, right. Credit: Los Angeles Times; Associated Press; Los Angeles Times