Primary election night: Winners and losers
California’s electoral experiment, the first test of independently drawn district maps and new election rules, led to the most unpredictable state election in years. Below is a list of some of the winners and losers from Tuesday's contests.
California Chamber of Commerce –- The chamber proved successful at trying to influence Democratic and Republican races alike, backing Orange County Democratic Clerk/Recorder Tom Daly, Merced Democrat Adam Gray and the San Fernando Valley’s Raul Bocanegra over more liberal Democratic challengers. All finished among the top two in their respective races. The group also helped Republican Peter Teteishi eke out a win in his Central Valley Assembly race, setting up a competitive election with Democrat Ken Cooley in the fall.
Darrell Steinberg –- The state Senate leader's hand-picked candidate, Richard Roth, emerges as the second-place finisher to Republican Assemblyman and insurance agent Jeff Miller in what will be one of the most expensive legislative races this fall. Steinberg appears to be in a strong position to pick up seats in November, and could even win a two-thirds majority for Senate Democrats, giving them power to pass tax hikes without GOP support.
Tobacco -- With most of the ballots counted, it appears as though tobacco companies' $46-million campaign has erased what was a wide lead for a new $1 per-pack tobacco tax. If the results stand, it will be the second consecutive tobacco tax rejected by state voters.
Incumbents – Many were challenged, but most prevailed. Conservative GOP Assemblyman Allan Mansoor beat back a challenge from Republican Leslie Daigle, a Newport Beach councilwoman, and incumbent Republican Tim Donnelly will avoid a fall rematch with the GOP mayor of Big Bear Lake, Bill Jahn. Republican Assemblywoman Beth Gaines seems poised for reelection after eliminating Proposition 8 author Andy Pugno. In one of the night's closest races Assemblywoman Betsy Butler was the top vote-getter in a close four-way Westside Assembly race. She will face Santa Monica Mayor Richard Bloom, a fellow Democrat, this fall.
Labor unions -– Voters in San Diego and San Jose overwhelmingly passed cutbacks to public employee retirement benefits, while labor candidates in some key races, including Orange County Democrat Julio Perez and Andrew Lachman in the San Fernando Valley, suffered big defeats.
Independents –- Despite new primary rules, there was not much room for independent candidates. Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, who recently quit the GOP, failed to make a runoff in the race for San Diego mayor while former Assemblyman Anthony Adams received minimal support for his congressional bid.
Gov. Jerry Brown -– Two candidates endorsed by the governor in high-profile local races –- Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. candidate Carmen Trutanich and San Diego mayoral hopeful Fletcher -– fell short, while voters sent an ominous message about their appetite for raising taxes of any kind as Brown prepares his initiative campaign for higher levies.
-- Anthony York in Sacramento
Photo: Voters cast their ballots Wednesday at Mariscos Las Sirenita Restaurant in Van Nuys. Credit: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times