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El Monte voters sharply reject tax on sugary drinks, early returns show

November 6, 2012 | 10:19 pm

PHOTOS: California voters head to polls

Initial election results in the city of El Monte showed sharp rejection of a sugary drinks tax measure, with nearly 75% of voters casting ballots against the proposal.

Mayor Andre Quintero, the tax's leading supporter, called the margin "insurmountable."

"This is going to be an early night for Measure H," Quintero said in a phone interview just after 9:30 p.m. "It's obviously going to be defeated."

LIVE RESULTS: California election | National election

The measure would have charged a one-cent tax for every ounce of sugary drink sold within the San Gabriel Valley city. But it drew fierce opposition from the beverage industry, which spent more than $1 million to defeat it.

Fred Muir, a spokesman for the "No on H" campaign, said the group was delighted with the early voting, and that they matched internal polling figures.

"It's not a surprise," Muir said. "We've been hearing discontent all over the city for quite some time."

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-- Sam Allen

Photo: Initial results showed El Monte residents rejecting the proposed soda tax. Credit: Emile Wamsteker / Bloomberg

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