Three battling for Ventura County congressional seat
The tally of absentee ballots in the race for a Ventura County congressional district seat showed Republican state Sen. Tony Strickland in front with more than half the vote and state Assemblywoman Julia Brownley, a Democrat, and Ventura County Supervisor Linda Parks battling for the second spot on the November ballot.
Under the state's new "top two" primary system, all the candidates appear on the same ballot and only the first-and second-place finishers Tuesday, regardless of any party affiliation, can advance to the November general election.
Republican leaders recruited Strickland, hoping he can replace retiring Rep. Elton Gallegly (R-Simi Valley) and with no other member of that party on the ballot to split the vote, most observers expected Strickland, of Moorpark, to win a place in the fall election.
Brownley, of Oak Park and Parks, of Thousand Oaks, who recently switched her registration from Republican to no party preference, were widely expected to duke it out for the second spot on the fall ballot.
Three other Democrats threatened Brownley's chances to unify her party's vote in the 26th Congressional District. They were Realtor/entrepreneur Albert Maxwell Goldberg of Ventura,Oxnard Harbor Commissioner Jess Herrera and businessman David Cruz Thayne of Westlake Village.
National Democratic groups spent money to support Brownley and oppose Parks. Parks got some help from icPurple, an independent expenditure committee that supports nonpartisan candidates.
Photo: Linda Parks, left, Julia Brownley, center, Tony Strickland, right. Credit: Stephen Osman / Los Angeles Times; Handout; Bryan Chan / Los Angeles Times